How severe was the earthquake?
The powerful earthquake ripped through central Italy, killing more than 100 and leaving thousands homeless.
The earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday has killed at least 159 people, the country’s civil protection agency said, raising a previous count of 124.
The search for bodies is continuing through the night and “won’t slow down,” civil protection head Fabrizio Curcio said.
Matteo Renzi, the Italian Prime Minister, had previously said at least 120 people have been killed with countless others injured and many still missing.
“This is not a final toll,” Mr Renzi said after visiting rescue workers at the centre of the earthquake zone in central Italy. The death toll has steadily risen throughout the day. Earlier on Wednesday, it was put at 73 before rising to 120 a few hours later. It has since risen again.
Entire villages have been flattened, while larger towns such as Amatrice have been seriously damaged.
Rescue workers were initially forced to dig through the rubble with their bare hands due to difficulties transporting equipment to the mountainous region.
When did it happen’?
The tremors began at around 3.30am on Wednesday morning, followed by a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake.
Many were killed almost instantly as their houses collapsed on top of them. Others were eventually rescued some hours later after they were found in the rubble by rescue workers.
Which areas are affected?
The towns of Amatrice and Accumoli, about 65 miles northeast of Rome, were the worst-affected areas. At least 35 people were killed in Amatrice alone, but nearby hamlets and villages were also heavily damaged.
Why is Italy vulnerable to earthquakes?
Many parts of Italy – including the central region hit by Wednesday’s quake – lie on a major seismic fault line.
According to the Foreign Office, tremors and earthquakes “are almost a daily occurrence.”
They are also caused by movements in the Eurasian and African tectonic plates, which are in conflict with each other.
It is not the first major earthquake to devastate Italy – in 2009 more than 300 people were killed in L’Aquila, close to the area of Wednesday’s earthquake.
What is the government doing?
Mr Renzi has offered his full support to rescue workers in the region and has already thanked them for their efforts in pulling survivors out of the rubble.
He visited several rescuers and victims on Wednesday afternoon.
The Pope has also expressed his solidarity with the victims and dispatched six firefighters from the Vatican’s tiny fire brigade to assist in the rescue effort.
“Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists and hearing that there are children among the victims, I am deeply saddened,” the Pope told thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square earlier.
He has cancelled a speech he was due to give at his daily audience and is instead praying with a crowd for victims of the disaster.
Francois Hollande, the French Prime Minister, said: “The earthquake in Italy is a terrible tragedy. I offer my solidarity to the people of Italy and to Mr Renzi.”
Vladimir Putin sent a telegram of condolences to Mr Renzi, and said Russia would provide “any necessary” assistance.
Angela Merkel said Germany “will be ready to do everything we can to help Italy if needed, and our thoughts are with the people of the region today.”
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, offered his condolences to Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni for “the loss of life and devastation” and also offered any assistance required.
News Source TelegraphNews