Earthquake Rips Through Italy, Killing At Least 73 People
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of central Italy today after a massive earthquake caused major damage across several towns and the death toll continues to rise.
According to NY Daily News reports:
At least 73 people were killed early Wednesday when a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rippled through central Italy, waking residents as it rumbled to Rome.
Entire blocks of Amatrice were destroyed after the first earthquake struck around 3:30 a.m. local time in the mountainous provinces of Umbria and Perugia. Powerful aftershocks followed.
“The town isn’t here anymore,” Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi told state-run RAI radio.
The death toll rose at daybreak when emergency crews rushed to find survivors in the hard-hit towns of Amatrice, Pescara del Tronto and Accumoli, digging into leveled buildings with shovels, bulldozers and their bare hands.
Landslides tore through Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto, quiet villages separated by only two miles built into the lush hillsides of Marche.
At least five people — including a family of four — died when a building in the small town of Accumoli collapsed.
“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,” Accumoli Mayor Stefano Petrucci told Reuters.
This is just terrible.
The initial tremor was followed by at least seven major aftershocks focused around Norcia, a town 70 miles northeast of Rome, where startled residents in the Italian capital reported swaying homes.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Center recorded the first earthquake at 6.1-magnitude while the United States Geological Service recorded 6.2-magnitude.
Search and rescue crews navigated through debris-clogged roads to reach razed buildings in Amatrice, where Pirozzi said he could hear “voices under the rubble.”
The earthquake knocked down power for more than 2,700 residents in the town and brought stone buildings tumbling to the ground near the city’s center.
As news of the devastation reached the Vatican, Pope Francis skipped a catechism lesson and led pilgrims at St. Peter’s Square in prayer for victims.
The USGS measured the first aftershock as a 4.6-magnitude near Amatrice and at least four more were recorded near Maltignano and Norcia ranging from 4.0 to 5.5.
The Italian earthquake institute documented at least 60 aftershocks in the four hours following the initial quake.
We hope that they are able to rescue all the remaining survivors and there are no further deaths reported. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.