26 Dec 2018

New quake hits Sicily near Etna volcano in Italy

8:43 pm on 26 December 2018

A 4.8-magnitude earthquake has hit Sicily around Europe's most active volcano Mount Etna, injuring at least two people, Italian media report.

Smoke rises over the city of Catania during an eruption of the Mount Etna, one of the most active volcanoes in the world on December 24, 2018.

Mt Etna erupted on Christmas Eve, covering nearby villages in ash and disrupting flights. Photo: AFP

Some buildings were reportedly damaged in what was the latest in dozens of tremors since Etna erupted on Christmas Eve.

Volcanic ash had earlier covered nearby villages, and flights to and from Catania airport had to be halted temporarily.

People on the mountainside were told to escape quickly.

The earthquake struck at 3.19am local time (3.19pm NZT) near the municipality of Viagrande.

Pictures of damaged buildings have been posted on social media.

Italian media are reporting panic among local residents, many of whom run out into the streets.

There were also reports of buildings shaking in Catania, a city of more than 300,000 people.