120 killed in Italy earthquake

120 killed in Italy earthquake

The 6.1 magnitude quake that struck at 3.36 a.m. was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including the capital Rome.

At least 120 people have been killed in a strong earthquake that struck central Italy early on Wednesday, levelling buildings in several towns as residents slept. One Mayor reported that a family of four was trapped under the debris without any sign of life and another said, “The town isn’t here anymore.”

Many are still missing as people are buried under rubble.

The 6.1 magnitude quake that struck at 3.36 a.m. was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including the capital Rome, where residents felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks. First images of damage showed debris in the street and some collapsed buildings in towns and villages that dot much of the Umbrian countryside.

The hardest-hit towns were reported as Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, with residents running into the streets as aftershocks continued into the early hours. As daylight dawned, residents and civil protection workers began digging out with shovels and bulldozers as dazed residents huddled in the open streets.

Here are the updates:

02.53 am: Rescue crews using bulldozers and their bare hands raced to dig out survivors. The death toll stood at 120, but the number of dead and missing was uncertain given the thousands of vacationers in the area for summer’s final days – AP

7.27 pm: The Civil Protection Department in Italy now says that atleast 73 people are dead.

4.29 pm: No reports of casualties or injuries to Indian nationals living in the affected region, says Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Following are helpline numbers for any queries: +39-3316406173, +39-3311928715

3.20 pm: At least 38 people died in the earthquake, a spokeswoman for the civil protection department said.

The quake struck towns and villages in the mountainous heart of the country, which was making the rescue operation more difficult, said spokeswoman Immacolata Postiglione.

Speaking to journalists, Ms. Postiglione said 27 people had died between the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice, and a further 10 had died in the nearby Arquata area. Later in her press conference she upped the death toll to 38, without giving further details.

2:30 pm: This video tweeted out by an Italian radio channel Rai Radio 1: “Missing persons searches continue unabated in Amatrice.”

 

2:15 pm: Latest report from Reuters says that at least 20 people are dead. The number of people missing is not availble as yet. But buildings were razed down as the ground shook. Officials are sifting through the rubble to find and rescue people.

11: 55 am: “Now that daylight has come, we see that the situation is even more dreadful than we feared with buildings collapsed, people trapped under the rubble and no sound of life,” said Accumoli mayor Stefano Petrucci. The town, which is about a 110 kms from Rome, is one of the worst-hit by far.

(A scene after the quake struck in Amatrice, central Italy. Photo: Reuters)

11:40 am: Latest update from Reuters say that at least 10 people believed killed in the mountainous central Italy. There are no figures on how many are injured so far but many are trapped in buildings. Rescue operations are on.

11:15 am: Here are some reactions from the locals who felt the tremors.

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