Italy earthquake: Before and after images show destruction
A strong earthquake has devastated a string of mountain towns and villages in central Italy, killing dozens of 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.
The epicentre was near Norcia, a town popular with foreign tourists, but most of the deaths were in the nearby towns of Accumoli and Amatrice and the village of Pescara del Tronto.
The first confirmed deaths following the quake came in Amatrice, when search teams found two bodies amid the rubble.
The town’s mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, told the AP news agency that more than a dozen victims had been discovered by rescuers, but added: “I believe the number will rise.”
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, it is not a good situation.”
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.
“I hope they don’t forget us,” he told the Sky TG24 broadcaster.
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.