Italy earthquake: Before and after images show destruction
4 hours ago
- From the sectionEurope
A strong earthquake has devastated a string of mountain towns and villages in central Italy, killing more than 240 people and leaving many unaccounted for.
The 6.2 magnitude quake, which was followed by several aftershocks, struck at 03:36 (01:36 GMT) on Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome.
Worst affected were the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice and the village of Pescara del Tronto.
The first confirmed deaths following the quake came in Amatrice, when search teams found two bodies amid the rubble.
The town’s mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, told the AP news agency that more than a dozen victims had been discovered by rescuers, but added: “I believe the number will rise.”
In Accumoli, a small mountain town, the first victims were a family of four who were found under the debris of a collapsed building.
Mayor Stefano Petrucci told reporters: “We have a tragedy here. There are people under the ruins.”
He said the town of just 700 residents swells to 2,000 in the summer months thanks to tourism, but that he feared for its future after the earthquake.
“I hope they don’t forget us,” he told the Sky TG24 broadcaster.
The village of Pescara del Tronto was also badly hit, with the Italian news agency ANSA reporting that at least 10 people had been killed there.
The main road into and out of the town was covered in debris, making it difficult for search and rescue teams to gain access to some damaged areas.
Amatrice: Most of the pretty, historic town is now rubble, blanketed in grey dust
The interior of a home in Amatrice exposed by the quake
Rescuers said they had pulled five bodies from the ruins of the Hotel Roma in Amatrice. As many as 70 tourists were staying at the hotel when the quake struck. Many are feared to be in the rubble, though several were pulled out and given medical care.
Many of those affected were Italians on holiday in the region. Some were in Amatrice for a festival to celebrate a famous local speciality – amatriciana bacon and tomato sauce.
Late on Wednesday there were cheers in the village of Pescara del Tronto when a young girl was pulled alive from the rubble after being trapped for 17 hours. Almost all the houses there had collapsed, the mayor said.
Why is Italy at risk of earthquakes? By Jonathan Amos
Earthquakes are an ever-present danger for those who live along the Apennine mountain range in Italy.
Through the centuries thousands have died as a result of tremors equal to, or not much bigger than, the event that struck in the early hours of Wednesday. The modern response, thankfully, has been more robust building and better preparation.
Mediterranean seismicity is driven by the great collision between the African and Eurasian tectonic plates; but when it comes down to the specifics of this latest quake, the details are far more complicated.
The Tyrrhenian Basin, or Sea, which lies to the west of Italy, between the mainland and Sardinia/Corsica, is slowly opening up.
Scientists say this is contributing to extension, or “pull-apart”, along the Apennines. This stress is compounded by movement in the east, in the Adriatic.
The result is a major fault system that runs the length of the mountain range with a series of smaller faults that fan off to the sides. The foundations of cities like Perugia and L’Aquila stand on top of it all.