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A 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy on Wednesday, destroying parts of popular vacation spots in the mountainous zone.
Reports say as many as 159 people were killed, according to the Associated Press. Rescue crews were working to free people from the rubble.
Among the affected areas: the villages of Pescara del Tronto, Accumoli and Amatrice.
Geologists say the earthquake was caused by the movement of the African Plate toward Europe. The accumulated tension of the under-surface rock erupts into tremors.
“It’s terrible, I’m 65-years-old and I have never experienced anything like this, small tremors, yes, but nothing this big. This is a catastrophe,” said Amatrice resident Giancarlo, quoted Reuters.
Rescuers in one of the hardest-hit towns, Amatrice, pulled several people out of the debris, including a young girl. The injured were flowing into hospitals.
“I remember hearing something, a loud noise, and then hiding under my bed,” said Mariana Lleshi, a Catholic nun in Amatrice, reported the Washington Post. “I was screaming, and I got out and started running when the ceiling started coming down.”
Rescuers prepare food for distribution in Amatrice on Wednesday. Photo by Ciro De Luca/Reuters
A man walks through the rubble following a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Pescara del Tronto. Photo by Remo Casilli/Reuters
Rescuers work to free people from the rubble in Pescara del Tronto in central Italy on Wednesday. Photo by Remo Casilli/Reuters
People walk with their belongings following an earthquake in Amatrice, central Italy. Photo by Ciro De Luca/Reuters
A bust is seen on the ground following an earthquake in Accumoli di Rieti in central Italy. Photo by Steve Scherer/Reuters
Larisa Epatko produced multimedia web features and broadcast reports with a focus on foreign affairs for the PBS NewsHour. She has reported in places such as Jordan, Pakistan, Iraq, Haiti, Sudan, Western Sahara, Guantanamo Bay, China, Vietnam, South Korea, Turkey, Germany and Ireland.
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