The quake struck at 3:36 a.m. with an epicenter 47 miles from the city of Perugia, at a depth of 6 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The USGS expects there could be many casualties, given conditions.

Most deaths occurred in the Lazio region villages of Accumoli and Amatrice, where 28 died. At least 10 people died in the Marche region villages of Arquata and Pescara del Tronto.

Sergio Perozzi, the mayor of Amatrice, told RAI “roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone. There are people under the rubble … There’s been a landslide and a bridge might collapse.”

Buildings in Rome shook for up to 20 seconds, La Repubblica newspaper reported.

At least two aftershocks occurred after the first quake.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is helping coordinate rescue efforts with authorities, the Italian Council of Ministers said in a statement. Italy’s minister of infrastructure and the head of the Italian National Civil Protection Department are expected to travel to affected areas.

“I was deeply saddened by the news of the earthquake that hit central Italy early on Wednesday morning,” European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a letter to Renzi. “My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. On behalf of the European Commission and myself personally, please accept our deepest sympathies. We stand, as ever, in solidarity with the Italian nation and are ready to assist in any way we can.”

Source: GNA/News Ghana


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