Central Italy jolted by 6.2 magnitude earthquake

Aug 24, 2016, 1:46 AM EDT
2009 earthquake in L'Aquila, Abruzzi, Italy
(Source: Alessandro Giangiulio/flickr)

A 6.2 magnitude earthquake ripped through central Italy on Wednesday, leaving at least 13 people dead and scores of others trapped under debris. Strong tremors, which are reported to have lasted for more than 20 seconds, have caused extensive damage in the towns of Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto. The European-Mediterranean Seismological Center located the epicenter of the quake at Norcia, about 105 miles northwest of Rome.

Several powerful aftershocks followed the earthquake, which has been described as “severe” by Italy’s Civil Protection agency, writes the BBC. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's spokesman tweeted that the government is in constant touch with the relief and rescue agency and closely monitoring the situation.

The mayor of Amatrice near Rieti, Sergio Perozzi, said, “Half the town is gone,” reports The Telegraph. Perozzi said he feared that a bridge might collapse, as there has been a major landslide in the area.

Italy was a last struck by a major earthquake in 2009 when more than 300 people died in the central city of L'Aquila, notes Reuters. Another quake rocked the northern Emilia Romagna region in May 2012, with two devastating shocks in a span of 10 days killing 23 people and leaving 14,000 others homeless.