At least 38 people are dead after an earthquake hit central Italy.
The rescue operation was made more difficult with the quake striking towns and villages in the mountainous heart of the country.
According to reports, 27 people died between the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice, and 10 died in the nearby Arquata area.
The earthquake caused damage to towns in three regions – Umbria, Lazio and Marche.
— Haidar Sumeri (@IraqiSecurity) August 24, 2016
The U.S. Geological Survey, which measured the quake at 6.2 magnitude, said it struck near the Umbrian city of Norcia, while Italy’s earthquake institute INGV registered it at 6.0 and put the epicenter further south, closer to Accumoli and Amatrice.
Italy sits on two fault lines, making it one of the most seismically active countries in Europe.
The beautiful town of Amatrice, Italy is no more. The earthquake has leveled the historic town. pic.twitter.com/emjKY6Iw24
— Romance Writer (@bocaroyality) August 24, 2016
The last major earthquake to hit the country struck the central city of L’Aquila in 2009, killing more than 300 people.
The most deadly since the start of the 20th century came in 1908, when an earthquake followed by a tsunami killed an estimated 80,000 people in the southern regions of Reggio Calabria and Sicily.
My prayers and thoughts to all in Italy devastated by this tragic earthquake. So much beauty and life lost. pic.twitter.com/mwH5ROGKpm
— Paul Stanley (@PaulStanleyLive) August 24, 2016
(with files from Steve Scherer/Reuters)