The world was thrown into shock as massive earthquakes rock central Italy early Wednesday morning. The tremor struck the town, killing at least 60 people and trapping several others under the debris.
Meanwhile, rescuers are still combing through the rubble in search of survivors of the tremors which awakened residents in Rome, nearly 100 miles to the southwest.
More death was recorded in Accumoli; close to the epicentre and a short distance away in Amatrice. The mountainous area was reduced to nothing but mere rubble.
A death toll is expected to rise in the village of Pescara del Tronto which was levelled to the ground. The town is literally no more.
The first, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, struck at 3:36 a.m., followed by a 5.5-magnitude temblor at 4:33 a.m., both near the town of Norcia in the Umbria region. About 40 quakes shook the region within a three-hour period. The quakes rocked the town when people were supposed to be having their beauty sleep.
According to authorities, the first quake was comparable in intensity to a 2009 earthquake in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. At the time, more than 300 people were reported dead as a result of the tremor.
Expressing sadness over the natural disaster, the mayor of Amatrice, Sergio Pirozzi said; “Half the town no longer exists.”
He added that rescue teams were still digging through the rubble, “hoping that most people were alive.”
Sadly, the historic centre of the town, with buildings dating to the Middle Ages, is now a heap of debris.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi commended the volunteers and civil defence officials. They had rushed to the scene in the middle of the night and dug with their bare hands in search of survivors.
Meanwhile, with a lot of people still unaccounted for after massive earthquakes rock central Italy, the death toll is expected to rise.