ACCUMOLI, ITALY (AUGUST 24, 2016) (REUTERS) – An earthquake devastated a string of mountainous towns over a swathe of central Italy early on Wednesday (August 24), trapping residents under hills of rubble, with at least 20 people believed killed and many missing.
The quake struck in the early hours of the morning when most people were asleep, razing homes and buckling roads in a cluster of towns and villages some 140 km (85 miles) east of Rome.
“I was in a house on top of the hill that collapsed, I survived, thank God, and I hope the others are safe as well. I’ve been two-and-half hours out here, wearing just my underwear. I don’t know, we are waiting to see what will happen, we don’t know anything. It’s terrible. I’m 65-years-old and I have never experienced anything like this, small tremors, yes, but nothing this big. This is a catastrophe,” said Rome resident Giancarlo who was on holiday in the town.
At least six were reported dead in the town.
The quake hit during the summer when the populations of the communities in the area, normally low during the rest of the year, are swelled by vacationers.
The U.S. Geological Survey, which measured the quake at 6.2 magnitude, said it struck near the Umbrian city of Norcia, while Italy’s earthquake institute INGV registered it at 6.0 and put the epicentre further south, closer to Accumoli and Amatrice.
The damage was made more severe because the epicentre was at a relatively shallow 4 km below the surface of the earth.