ROME: A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck central Italy, leaving at least 21 people dead and many others trapped under rubble, according to officials in Italy.
Much of the town of Amatrice was reduced to rubble and a family of four were feared dead nearby in Accumoli.
Many of the dead were in the village of Pescara del Tronto which was levelled to the ground and there were fears the number could rise.
The quake hit at 03:36, 100km north-east of Rome.
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) August 24, 2016
Although it struck at a shallow depth of 10km, its intensity was compared to the Aquila earthquake in April 2009 in which 309 people died. The epicentre was around Accumoli where several people died, reports BBC.
Ten people were killed in the village of Pescara del Tronto, six in Accumoli and five in Amatrice, CNN affliate Rai reported.
Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi “I have an appeal to make: we have access roads to the town cut off and people under the rubble, help us.”
He said there was no power, and it was crucial for rescue crews to get to the town.
Rescue workers called Amatrice residents’ cellphones, and tried to get to those who answered, the affiliate reported. If there was no answer, rescuers moved on to the next person.
Amatrice is known for its traditional all’amatriciana pasta sauce, and was gearing up to hold a festival celebrating the recipe this weekend.
— P.M.O.I (@Mojahedineng) August 24, 2016
Some buildings in the capital shook for 20 seconds as the quake struck an area between the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Marche. It was felt from Bologna in the north to Naples in the south.
The mayor of nearby Accumoli, Stefano Petrucci, told Rai that newer buildings were the most damaged, while some of the more historic buildings suffered less damage.
“We’re digging, digging… hoping to find someone alive,” he said, reports CNN.
While the number of people trapped under the rubble is unknown, rescuers are focusing on finding survivors, said Fabrizio Curcio, head of Italy’s civil protection.
WHY UMBRIA IS PRONE TO QUAKES:
The Eurasian and African tectonic plates are in conflict in central Italy, moving relative to each other at a rate of one inch per year, reports The Independent. As a result, the region is probably the most seismically active in Europe.
In 1915, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, about 40 miles south of the latest site, killed around 32,000 people. More recently, in 1997 a 6.0 magnitude earthquake 30 miles north killed 11 people and destroyed 80,000 homes in the Marche and Umbria regions. And in 2009, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake 30 miles south killed at least 295 people and left at least 55,000 homeless.
Fortunately, there seems to be no impact on air travel to the region, with flights to Rome and Perugia, the nearest airport operating as usual. August is peak season for travel to the region, and many
Musafir Namah Bureau