A powerful 6.2 earthquake causes 120 deaths in Italy - Celebania


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Wednesday 24 August 2016

A powerful 6.2 earthquake causes 120 deaths in Italy

A powerful 6.2 earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday has left at least 120 people dead, the country's civil protection unit said.

Immacolata Postiglione, the head of the unit's emergency department, announced the new toll at a press conference in Rome as rescue efforts continued in the mountain villages devastated by the quake. The hardest-hit towns were Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, some 100 kilometers northeast of Rome, though the quake was felt beyond the Lazio region into Umbria and Le Marche on the Adriatic coast.

The epicentre of the quake was about 170 km northeast of Rome near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria. The tremors were sufficiently strong to wake residents of central Rome.

Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of Amatrice, a mountain village close to the epicentre, said that the town ‘isn’t here anymore’ and many residents are buried under the debris.

At least 10 people died in Pescara, a hamlet that is part of the bigger village of Arquata del Tronto, as per the 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.

Amatrice is famous in Italy as a beauty spot and is a popular holiday destination for Romans seeking cool mountain air at the height of the summer. It was packed with visitors at the peak of the summer season.

The mayor of Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, said at least six people had died there, including a family of four, and two others.

‘We have a tragedy here. For the moment one death is confirmed but there are another four people under the rubble and they are not responding. It is a disaster, we have no light, no telephones, the rescue services have not got here yet,’ Petrucci was quoted as saying by national broadcaster Rai.

The first quake struck shortly after 3.30 am (local time), according to the United States Geological Survey, and a 5.4 magnitude aftershock followed an hour later.

USGS’s PAGER system, which predicts the impact of earthquakes, issued a red alert -- suggesting significant casualties and damage based on previous quake data.

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