Earth­quake dev­as­tates Italian towns

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By REUTERS

At least 159 peo­ple were killed and thou­sands left home­less af­ter a mag­ni­tudeearthquake dev­as­tated a string of moun­tain­ous towns in cen­tral Italy on Wed­nes­day, trap­ping res­i­dents un­der piles of rub­ble.

The quake struck in the early hours of the morn­ing when most peo­ple were asleep, de­stroy­ing homes and buck­ling roads in a clus­ter of towns and vil­lages about 140 km east of Rome.

The emer­gency ser­vices re­leased an aerial pho­to­graph show­ing whole ar­eas of the town of Ama­trice flat­tened, while de­bris filled the streets in nearby Ac­cu­moli.

“Now that day­light has come, we see the sit­u­a­tion

Danger zone

is even more dread­ful than we feared, with build­ings col­lapsed, peo­ple trapped un­der the rub­ble and no sound of life,” said Ac­cu­moli Mayor Ste­fano Petrucci.

Wide cracks ap­peared on the build­ings that were still stand­ing.

Res­i­dents sifted through the rub­ble with their hands be­fore emer­gency ser­vices ar­rived with earth-mov­ing equip­ment and snif­fer dogs.

The quake struck dur­ing the summer va­ca­tion sea­son when lo­cal pop­u­la­tions, which are nor­mally low dur­ing the rest of the year, are swelled by vis­i­tors.

“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 one Ama­trice resident.

ADAMO DI LORETO / REUTERS

Res­cuers work fol­low­ing an earth­quake in Pescara del Tronto, cen­tral Italy, on Wed­nes­day.

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