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Latest | 120 killed in Italy earthquake

An injured nun checks her mobile phone as she recovers after an earthquake in Italy on Wednesday. The magnitude 6.2 earthquake, which killed at least 73 people, was felt across central Italy, including Rome. Photo: AP  

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.









While the epicentre was more than 100 kilometres from the capital city Rome, the tremors were felt there.





10:45 am: According to Associated Press, the ANSA news agency says two bodies have been pulled from the rubble of quake-hit Amatrice in central Italy.

10:15 am: Reports coming in saying that at least six people have been killed in the aftermath of the earthquake and many others injured.

10:10 am: The mayor of Amatrice near Rieti, Sergio Pirozzi, told state-run RAI radio and Sky TG24 that residents were buried under collapsed buildings, that the lights had gone out and that heavy equipment was needed to clear streets clogged with debris. “The town isn’t here anymore,” he said. The office of Premier Matteo Renzi tweeted that heavy equipment was on its way.

10:00 am: The European Mediterranean Seismological Center put the magnitude at 6.1. The U.S. Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.2 with the epicentre at Norcia, about 170 km northeast of Rome, and with a relatively shallow depth of 10 km.

(This map provided by USGS shows the epicentre of the earthquake.)

In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the same region and killed more than 300 people. The earlier earthquake struck L’Aquila in central Italy, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the latest quake.

A 1997 quake killed a dozen people in the area and severely damaged one of the jewels of Umbria, the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, filled with Giotto frescoes. The Franciscan friars who are the custodians of the basilica reported no immediate damage from Wednesday’s tumblor.


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