Earthquake in Italy leaves at least 38 dead
A strong earthquake brought down buildings in mountainous central Italy early this morning, trapping residents and sending others fleeing into the streets, with at least 38 people killed, according to a civil protections spokeswoman.
The quake caused serious damage to a number of towns and villages, but did not seem to have hit heavily populated areas.
Deaths were reported in three villages in a mountainous area straddling the regions of Lazio and Marche: Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.
At least ten people died in Pescara, a hamlet that is part of the bigger village of Arquata del Tronto, according to civil protection officers cited by the ANSA news agency.
Six bodies were recovered at Amatrice, according to the president of the Lazio region, and two at Accumoli, according to the town’s mayor.
“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.
Earlier, Mr Petrucci told RAI state broadcaster that a family of four had been buried when their house collapsed, adding that there was no indication they had survived.
“Three quarters of the town is not there anymore,” Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of the small town of Amatrice, told RAI.
“The aim now is to save as many lives as possible. There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there.”
A Reuters reporter said the town’s hospital had been badly damaged by the quake, with patients moved into the streets.
The earthquake caused damage to towns in three regions – Umbria, Lazio and Marche.
The US Geological Survey, which measured the quake at 6.2 magnitude, said it struck near the Umbrian city of Norcia, which has a picturesque historic centre and is a major tourist site.