At least 21 killed and many more feared dead after ‘apocalyptic’ 6.2 earthquake flattens buildings in central Italy as shocked mayor says ‘my town has been wiped out’

AT least 21 people have been killed and many more are feared dead after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Italy.

One eight-month-old baby, his nine year-old brother and parents are feared to have been among the dead after being buried by rubble as they slept.

Dozens of buildings collapsed in the town of Amatrice – near the popular tourist city of Perugia – trapping scores of locals in the debris.

Rescuers have reported hearing the voices of those trapped beneath the rubble as the local mayor declared: “My town isn’t here anymore.”

Italy earthquake
An aerial view photograph shows the level of devastation in Amatrice, central Italy, following the quake
Italy earthquake
Buildings were sent tumbling, trapping dozens more people in the debris of the Rieti town
Rescuers ferry away one of the survivors from the rubble in the central Italian town
Rescuers ferry away one of the survivors from the rubble in the central Italian town
The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are pulled from the rubble
The death toll is expected to rise as more bodies are pulled from the rubble
At least two of those killed in the earthquake are believed to be children who were sleeping when it struck
At least two of those killed in the earthquake are believed to be children who were sleeping when it struck
The death toll rose quickly throughout Wednesday morning as rescuers continued to pull bodies from the rubble. This man was one of the lucky surviviors
The death toll rose quickly throughout Wednesday morning as rescuers continued to pull bodies from the rubble. This man was one of the lucky surviviors
At least 6 have reportedly been killed after a 6.2-magnitude quake

The quake was so strong it could be felt in Rome – 100 miles away.

Buildings in the Italian capital shook for 20 seconds, according to La Repubblica.

The epicentre was in the Umbrian town of Norcia with the town of Accumoli also badly affected.

Aleandro Petrucci, the mayor of nearby Arquata, said: “It’s a disaster.

“We are trying to evacuate the village and move them to a sports field. I’ve just arrived and I feel like crying.

“I’ve never seen such an apocalyptic scene except for the L’Aquila earthquake on television.”

Italy earthquake
The quake was so strong it could be felt in the capital Rome – more than 100 miles away
Italy earthquake
Families survey the devastation in Amatrice after a devastating earthquake struck in the early hours
Italy earthquake
Grim scenes are emerging from Italy this morning after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck overnight
Italy earthquake
A man is carried away after having been rescued alive from the ruins of the town
Deadly earthquake causes extensive damage in Amatrice

Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi told RAI: “Three quarters of the town is not there anymore.

“The aim now is to save as many lives as possible. There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there.”

Brit Tourists reported feeling the tremors as far as Rome, with a number taking to Twitter to voice their concerns.

Sarah Conrad said: “Pretty sure I was just woken up by an earthquake in Rome.

“I thought someone snuck into my hotel room & was jumping on the bed. Both scary!”

Paul O’Halloran, also in Rome, added: “Just got woke up by an earthquake! Bed and window shutters moving!”

EARTHQUAKE-MAP
The quake affected towns around the region of Rieti, near popular tourist city Perugia
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A spokesman for the Red Cross said finding survivors is a priority
Italy earthquake
The town sits in the middle of mountains and valleys, where there are small houses on their own that need help
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Bodies are still being pulled from the rubble in central Italy after a devastating earthquake
Italy earthquake
The mayor of Arquata described the scenes as in his town as bordering on ‘apocalyptic’
Italian home rocks as 6.2 tremor hits Umbrian house overnight

Brit Emma Tucker, who was in the area at the time, said: “It was pitch dark, very cold. Nobody in our group had a clue what to do in an earthquake.”

Renata Moriono told the Guardian: “I am on holiday in my home village in the Marche region, a few kilometres away from Amatrice and the epicentre. I felt a very strong shaking at about 3am … It went on for ages – then again about 1/2 hour or 45 min later. It was like 1997. Terrifying.”

It is thought the epicentre of the quake was about 4km beneath Accumoli (Rieti), which is now almost inaccessible.

Local media suggests it struck at around 3.30am.

The first victims emerged as an elderly couple in Pescara del Tronto, in the Marche region, ten miles from the epicentre.

A family of four were also reportedly dead in Accumoli – four miles from the source of the quake, which struck at 3.30am local time.

Tremors also destroyed homes in Amatrice, where dozens more are feared dead.

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Brit tourists described feeling tremors as far as Rome – 100 miles away from the earthquake scene
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A man sobs in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake that hit Amatrice this morning
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Several towns in the region of Rieti were devastated by the quake
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People described feeling ‘very strong shaking’ that ‘went on for ages’
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A damaged home is seen after a strong earthquake rocked central Italy this morning

The town’s mayor Sergio Pirozzi said: “Half the town is gone.”

He added: “There are people under the  rubble… There’s been a landslide and a bridge might collapse.”

Tommaso della Longa, a spokesman for the Red Cross, said a grim scene is emerging from Amatrice this morning.

He said: “The picture we got from our delegate in Amatrice are telling us a terrible story of a small city almost completely destroyed,” he said.

“The situation is difficult at the moment.

“These areas are in central Italy and are in middle of mountains and valleys.
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The death toll is expected to rise as rescuers describe hearing ‘voices under the rubble’
Italy earthquake
Buildings in the Italian capital reportedly shook for 20 seconds, according to La Repubblica
Italy earthquake
The first victims emerged as an elderly couple in Pescara del Tronto, in the Marche region
Italy earthquake
A man looks at damaged buildings after a strong earthquake hit Amatrice
“There are small houses in the middle of the valley that are completely alone and they need help. It’ll take some time to reach them.”
He added finding survivors is a priority.
Local eyewitness Lina Mercantini of Ceselli in Umbria, told Reuters news agency: “It was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it.”

The British Foreign Office updated its advice for anyone stuck in the affected area.

It said on its website: “An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 struck Central Italy during the early hours of 24 August. The earthquake was also felt in Rome.

“If you are in the affected area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities. If you are in Italy, Civil Protection have activated a hotline 800840840 for information.

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Rescuers search for victims among the rubble of a house as the death toll continues to rise
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A number of buildings collapsed in communities close to the epicentre of the quake near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria, witnesses told Italian media
Italy earthquake
Residents stand among damaged buildings as they reel from the earthquake
Italy earthquake
The 6.2 magnitude quake was so strong it shook buildings in Rome for 20 seconds

“To learn more about what to do before, during, and after an earthquake visit the Protezione Civile website.”

Data from previous quakes suggest the damage could be significant, according to the USGS.

In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake in the Aquila region, which was also felt in the Italian capital, left more than 300 dead.


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Source: International

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