Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake Strikes Central Italy, 120 Dead
A powerful earthquake struck central Italy just after 3:30 a.m. local time on Wednesday, killing 120 people and leaving nearly 370 injured, according to the Associated Press.
Nearly 200 aftershocks have already hit the region since early this morning, according to the AP. Three towns were devastated by the quake: Accumoli, Amatrice and Pescara del Tronto. Reuters is reporting that whole sections of Amatrice were reduced to rubble. Rescue workers are using large earth-moving equipment to search for survivors and try to clean up after the quake.
The AP is also reporting that “a geologist in Poland says the…earthquake in central Italy was caused by the slow but constant under-surface movement of the African plate toward Europe.” The geologist said the plate pushes northward toward Italy’s Apennine Mountain Range at a rate of up to two inches per year.
Pope Francis expressed his condolences to the families of victims and thanked rescue workers in his address before the General Assembly. “…On hearing of the news of the earthquake that has struck central Italy, and which has devastated entire areas and left many wounded, I cannot fail to express my heartfelt sorrow and spiritual closeness to all those present in the zones afflicted. I also express my condolences to those who have lost loved ones, and my spiritual support to those who are anxious and afraid. Hearing the mayor of Amatrice say that the town no longer exists, and learning that there are children among the dead, I am deeply saddened,” he said. “And thanking all the volunteer and rescue personnel who are assisting these people, I ask you to join me in praying to the Lord Jesus, Who is always moved by compassion before the reality of human suffering, that He may console the broken hearted…”
Multiple news outlets are reporting that up to 150 people are still missing and may be trapped in the rubble. The region is still very dangerous as the threat of additional aftershocks is still ongoing.