Italy earthquake: Before and after images show destruction

image copyrightAP

A strong earthquake has devastated a string of mountain towns and villages in central Italy, killing at least 250 people and leaving many unaccounted for.

The 6.2 magnitude quake, which was followed by several aftershocks, struck at 03:36 (01:36 GMT) on Wednesday, 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome.

Worst affected were the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice and the villages of Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto.

The first confirmed deaths following the quake came in Amatrice, and by Thursday it was clear that many had been buried when the town collapsed.

The town's mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, told the AP news agency: "Half the village has disappeared."

image copyrightGoogle/AP
image captionThe main street through Amatrice was reduced to rubble following the earthquake
image copyrightAP
image captionThe clock tower in the town centre was left standing but many of the surrounding buildings were not
image copyrightGoogle/Reuters
image captionMany homes in and around the small town were completely destroyed by the tremors
image copyrightGoogle/AFP
image captionA church in the town was also badly damaged, losing much of the top of the building and its roof

In Accumoli, a small mountain town, the first victims were a family of four who were found under the debris of a collapsed building.

Mayor Stefano Petrucci told reporters: "We have a tragedy here. There are people under the ruins."

He said the town of just 700 residents swells to 2,000 in the summer months thanks to tourism, but that he feared for its future after the earthquake.

image copyrightGoogle/Reuters
image captionA residential building in the heart of Accumoli that was partially destroyed by the quake
image copyrightAP
image captionAccumoli Mayor Stefano Petrucci said some hundreds of people had been left homeless

The village of Pescara del Tronto was also badly hit, with the Italian news agency ANSA reporting that at least 10 people had been killed there.

The main road into and out of the town was covered in debris, making it difficult for search and rescue teams to gain access to some damaged areas.

The neighbouring village of Arquata del Tronto was also devastated by the earthquake. Mayor Aleandro Petrucci told AFP news agency: "If we don't get help, l'Arquata is finished."

image copyrightGoogle/EPA
image captionOne section of the road into Pescara del Tronto was almost entirely destroyed
image copyrightGoogle/Getty
image captionArquata del Tronto Mayor Aleandro Petrucci said the population of the area triples in the summer
image copyrightGetty Images
image captionPhotos taken from the air of Pescara del Tronto by regional firefighters showed much of the village flattened


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