AMATRICE, Italy – A 6.1 magnitude earthquake shook Rome and Central Italy early Wednesday (local time), the epicenter was reported to be in the city of Amatrice just northeast of the nation’s capitol. Dozens are confirmed dead after the earthquake at least 38, the Italian state broadcaster Rai is reporting. Local media is reporting that the death toll is “certainly” going to rise. First images of damage showed debris in the street and some collapsed buildings in towns and villages that dot much of the Umbrian countryside.
Italy’s Civil Protection agency said the earthquake was “severe,” Reuters reported. CBS News reports that the mayor of quake-hit Amatrice says residents were buried under debris and that the town “isn’t here anymore.” Mayor Sergio Perozzi said there were downed buildings in the city center and that the lights had gone out. He said he was unable to get in touch with emergency responders or reach the hospital.
In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the same area but left almost 300 people dead. That earthquake struck L’Aquila in central Italy, about 55 miles south of this latest quake in Amatrice.