Catastrophic Earthquake Destroys Italian Town

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Amatrice before the catastrophic earthquake

Central Italy was hit by a catastrophic earthquake earlier on Wednesday. It has nearly completely obliterated the small town of Amatrice, and several other towns in the area. So far, 21 people have been confirmed dead throughout the region, and hundreds of people are still trapped in the rubble.

Italian authorities are currently focusing on finding survivors in the small mountain town. The work is quite difficult, because the earthquake has left the area without electricity.

Roads leading to the towns are now blocked, so rescue teams have a hard time reaching the victims of this catastrophic earthquake. According to authorities, the layouts of the towns and villages make their tasks even more difficult to reach survivors. Because this is a rural, mountainous region, the houses are far apart and relatively isolated. The terrain is also hard to navigate.

People in Rome felt the effects of the devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake, about a 100 miles away from the epicenter. According to witnesses, the rattling lasted about half a minute.

About an hour after the initial earthquake, aftershock waves started hitting. The first one had an equally terrifying 5.5 magnitude. Authorities stated that given the fact that the initial quake was so shallow, and so powerful, Italian should expect more waves to come.

It is quite possible that landslides are going to occur as well, since the epicenter was in a mountainous region. So far, the full extent of the damages is unclear. Many of the houses in the region are not sturdy enough to withstand such a catastrophic earthquake. According to Jessica Turner of the US Geological Survey (USGS), “Overall, the population in this region resides in structures that are a mix of vulnerable and earthquake resistant construction”.

This Is Not The Only Catastrophic Earthquake to Hit Italy In Recent Years

In 2012, two equally powerful earthquakes hit the province of Modena, near Bologna. The first had a 6.0-magnitude, and killed 7 people. Just 9 days later, a second quake hit the same region. The second was relatively smaller, with a magnitude of 5.2.

Around 14.000 people had to move away because of these two catastrophic earthquakes. The disaster had struck in the industrial region of Italy, in the north. Authorities feared the quakes with have not just a human impact, but an economic one as well. The final death toll of the two disasters combined was 23.

Prior to these two, in 2009, Italy experienced an even stronger, 6.3-magnitude earthquake. The epicenter was located in the Aquila region, and the aftershock reached the capital of Italy as well. More than 300 people died as a result of this catastrophic earthquake.

Other cities that have felt the effects of the earthquake report that they have suffered casualties as well. As the events unfold, it is likely that these numbers will increase.

The mayor of Amatrice believes that  there are probably more dead people still buried under the rubble. With nearly 50% of the city completely destroyed, this is quite likely true.

Rescue teams are working non-stop to get to as many survivors as they can, before it’s too late. As the situation becomes clearer, and communication channels become stable, more information is going to emerge.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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