A devastating earthquake hit central Italy on Wednesday, killing at least 120 people and displacing more than 1,000.
At the epicentre of the quake — which had a magnitude of 6.2 — were the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto, and Arquata del Tronto.
Amatrice, in particular, was hit hard and saw its buildings and homes reduced to rubble. The only major structure left standing after the disaster hit was a clock tower in the town’s historic center. The clock’s hands were frozen at 3:36 a.m. — the exact time the earthquake struck.
Here’s what the area looked like before the earthquake:
Here it is after:
The damage in Amatrice was so severe that the mayor, Sergio Pirozzi, told CNN the “town isn’t here anymore.” The town was crowded with residents and tourists who were visiting for the summer. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue workers uncover more damage and deal with potential aftershocks from the quake.
“There are so many dead I cannot make an estimate,” Pirozzi told RAI state television, according to The Guardian. “We have already extracted several dead bodies but we do not know how many there are below.”
The damage in Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and surrounding areas was so severe that Italy sent military assistance, and the Vatican announced it would send its firefighters to help as well.
Aid workers and rescuers are still searching for those who may be lost in the debris — on late Wednesday, a firefighter announced that he’d pulled an 8-year-old girl out alive from the rubble — and Amatrice residents will not be allowed to sleep in the town Wednesday night.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said, during an address to Italy, “In difficult times, Italy knows what to do,” according to CNN..
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