A solid 6.2 magnitude quake struck central Italy early today near the town of Norcia, the U.S. Geological Survey mentioned. Strong tremors woke up residents in the capital Rome, some 170km away from the epicenter of the quake which occurred at 9.36am (Malaysian time).
The town of Norcia, home to some 5,000 residents, lies just 10km southeast of the quake’s epicenter, according to US Geological Survey (USGS). The ancient Italian city of Spoleto in the Perugia province with some 40,000 residents is located 35km east of the quake. The earthquake hit 126km north of Rome, the largest and most populated city of the region with 2.6 million people.
There were reports of damaged buildings and blackouts near Rieti and residents fleeing their homes and running into the streets, according to The Telegraph. The shallow quake estimated to have struck at a depth of 4km and houses in Rome felt a long swaying following by aftershocks.
The Prime Minister’s office said the government was in touch with regional heads of the civil protection agency. The mayor of the town of Amatrice, Sergio Perozzi, told state-run RAI radio that buildings in the town centre had collapsed and electricity had been cut according to BBC News.
"What can I tell you? It's a drama," Perozzi stated.
The latest updates by BBC tells us that there at least 247 and more missing.
In 2009, a 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck in the same region and killed more than 300 people. The earlier earthquake struck L'Aquila in central Italy, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the latest quake. Another quake hit the northern Emilia Romagna region in May 2012, when two ferocious shocks 10 days apart left 23 people dead and 14,000 homeless.