Central Italy Hit By 6.2 Earthquake; Kills 39; At least 10 Children Among the Dead

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A powerful 6.2 earthquake struck the central Italian town of Amatrice, Wednesday, killing at least 39, and leaving thousands buried under the debris of collapsed buildings and rubble as first responders race against the clock to save residents.

With thousands unaccounted for, rescue workers honed in on the screams of the living making critical search decisions pulling many from the piles of twisted concrete and steel.

Police and fire teams have managed, in the first critical hours, to save many people who found themselves entombed when the shallow quake struck.

The death toll in Amatrice, with an annual population of 2000, is expected to rise from the initial totals of 39. The local hospital also suffered structural damage in the killer quake and patients had to be evacuated. Makeshift morgues have been created around the city with at least ten children reported among the dead.

In the twelve hours since the quake struck, officials have received reports of death among residents in surrounding villages also affected by the devastating killer quake.

Pescara del Tronto, a village about 23KM north of the epicenter, reported extensive damage from the powerful jolt, with two deaths attributed to the tremor and a baby rescued from a collapse home.

Officials have not yet commented on the devastation in the countryside of other small villages caught in the outer bands of the quake.

Described as apocalyptic the town has literally been split in town, with landslides and nearly 60 aftershocks in the first four hours.

Reports indicated the tremor was felt as far away as Rome, 100 miles south of Amatrice, near Norcia, as Twitter continued to be the go to for first hand micro messaging updates.  

As images begin to flood social and traditional media, the destruction and damage is shocking. Images of survivors pulled from the rubble, buildings toppled, massive piles of twisted steel, concrete and broken, shredded lumber where once homes stood and families lived are heartbreaking.

This is a developing story.

Images courtesy of AFP and used with permission

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