With all of the human-caused tragedy 2016 has seen so far, it was only a matter of time before mother nature reminded us of the devastation she can cause. According to the New York Times, strong earthquakes struck central Italy early Wednesday, killing at least 38 people, and trapping hundreds under debris. The quake set off tremors that were felt residents in Rome, nearly 100 miles to the southwest.
The first, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake, struck at 3:36 A.M., followed by a 5.5-magnitude temblor at 4:33 A.M., both near the town of Norcia in the Umbria region. Over a three-hour period, about 40 quakes shook the region.
According to The Times:
The death toll on Wednesday, reported by the Italian news media, was almost certain to rise, given that scores of people remained unaccounted for. The authorities said the first quake was comparable in intensity to a 2009 earthquake in the Abruzzo region of central Italy that killed more than 300 people.
Towns across three regions — Umbria, Lazio and Marche — were devastated by the quakes, which could be felt as far away as Bologna in the north and Naples in the south. The towns of Accumoli, Amatrice, Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto were reported to be among the most heavily damaged.
Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice – one of the hardest hit regions – said ‘half the town no longer exists’, and who that rescue teams were digging through the rubble, “hoping that most people were alive.”
Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi, speaking in Rome, said he would head toward the epicenter of the quake later on Wednesday. He thanked rescue workers and volunteers, and “No family, no city, no hamlet will be left alone.”
Our thoughts are with the Italians during this difficult time. If you wish to contribute, you can donate to the Italian Red Cross here.
[h/t NY Times]