Italy quake: Res­cuers race to find sur­vivors

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

THE death toll from a dev­as­tat­ing earth­quake that hit and flat­tened cen­tral Ital­ian towns soared to more than 240 as res­cuers des­per­ately searched through the night for sur­vivors un­der the ru­ins of col­lapsed build­ings.

With 368 peo­ple in­jured, some crit­i­cally, and an un­known num­ber still trapped in moun­tains of rub­ble yes­ter­day morn­ing, the toll was ex­pected to rise.

Wed­nes­day’s pre-dawn earth­quake razed homes and buck­led roads in a clus­ter of moun­tain com­mu­ni­ties 140km east of Italy’s cap­i­tal, Rome. It was pow­er­ful enough to be felt in Bologna to the north and Naples to the south, each more than 200km from the epi­cen­tre.

The US Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey said that it was a 6.2 mag­ni­tude quake that hit near the town of Nor­cia, in the re­gion of Um­bria.

The death toll is 247 as of Thurs­day morn­ing, the coun­try’s civil pro­tec­tion agency said. The toll had stood at 159 on Wed­nes­day night.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple spent a chilly night in hastily as­sem­bled tents with the risk of af­ter­shocks mak­ing it too risky for them to re­turn home.

“Tonight will be our first night­mare night,” said Alessan­dro Gabrielli, one of hun­dreds pre­par­ing to sleep in tents in fields and car parks in the small town of Ama­trice, each one hous­ing 12 peo­ple whose homes had been de­stroyed.

“Last night, I woke up with a sound that sounded like a bomb,” he said.

One ho­tel that col­lapsed in Ama­trice prob­a­bly had about 70 guests, and only seven bod­ies had so far been re­cov­ered, said the mayor of the town that was one of the worst hit by the earth­quake.

“Half the town is gone,” Ser­gio Pirozzi told RAI state tele­vi­sion. “There are peo­ple un­der the rub­ble . . . There’s been a land­slide and a bridge might col­lapse.”

“There is a mas­sive res­cue op­er­a­tion go­ing on in the town of Ama­trice. Thou­sands of work­ers from the re­gion par­tic­i­pate in the ef­forts. The town is full of rub­ble,” Nat­acha But­ler said, re­port­ing from the quake­hit town.

Be­sides Ama­trice, the worst-hit towns were be­lieved to be Ac­cu­moli, Posta and Arquata del Tronto, Luca Cari, a fire de­part­ment spokesman, told Reuters news agency, adding that he­li­copters would be sent up at first light to as­sess the dam­age.

Guido Bordo (69) said that his sis­ter and her hus­band had died when their hol­i­day house near Ac­cu­moli col­lapsed on top of them.

“I was not here. As soon as the quake hap­pened, I rushed here. They man­aged to pull my sis­ter’s chil­dren out, they’re in hospi­tal now,” said.

A hos­tel on the Gran Sasso moun­tain, a pop­u­lar area for hik­ers and climbers, said on its Face­book page that a large piece of rock had col­lapsed as a re­sult of the tremor.

Gil­berto Sac­corotti, a ge­ol­o­gist at Italy’s Na­tional In­sti­tute for Geo­physics and Vol­canol­ogy, said: “That par­tic­u­lar area has a long his­tory of very [pow­er­ful], very en­er­getic seis­mic­ity. It’s not sur­pris­ing to have had a [pow­er­ful] earth­quake there.

“From my knowl­edge of the area, the roads are very nar­row, so if one road fails, the con­nec­tion may be­come very dif­fi­cult . . . The depth [of the earth­quake] is quite shal­low, about four kilo­me­tres. Usu­ally the typ­i­cal depth is in the or­der of 10 kilo­me­tres.”

Sac­carotti said it was dif­fi­cult to pre­dict whether there would be an­other earth­quake or more af­ter­shocks.

The last ma­jor earth­quake to hit Italy struck the cen­tral city of L’Aquila in 2009, killing more than 300 peo­ple. — Al Jazeera —

Roughly 20 000 chil­dren have been sep­a­rated from their fam­i­lies in north­east­ern Nige­ria alone Jazeera Al

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.