Earthquake in central Italy kills at least 37 persons

Rescuers at work at  a collapsed house following the quake in Amatrice
Rescuers at work at a collapsed house following the quake in Amatrice

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck central Italy, leaving at least 37 people dead and many others trapped under rubble, reports say.

“Half the town is gone,” said the mayor of Amatrice, one of the worst areas affected.

A family of four were feared dead in the rubble of their house in the nearby town of Accumoli.

The quake hit at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome, at a shallow depth of 10km. Some buildings in the capital shook for 20 seconds.

Officials warned the number of fatalities was likely to rise. The head of the civil protection department compared the earthquake’s intensity to Aquila in April 2009 in which 309 people died.

Some of the worst damage was in the town of Amatrice, where at least five died and rescue efforts were under way to find survivors.
“The roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone.

There are people under the rubble. There’s been a landslide and a bridge might collapse,” said mayor Sergio Pirozzi.

“There are tens of victims, so many under the rubble. We’re preparing a place for the bodies,” he said.

The main street through the town has been devastated and emergency workers are trying to reach six people in a collapsed building.

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