As a massive search and rescue effort is underway after Italy’s devastating earthquake, the death toll continues to rise. Hospital sources now say at least 150 people have died.
Homes, historic churches and other buildings have been demolished in what is the worst quake to hit Italy in nearly 30 years. Most of the casualties are in the 13th century mountain city of L’Aquila. Some towns in the centre of the country have been virtually entirely destroyed by the 6.3 magnitude tremor. Some 1,500 people have been injured. The tremor lasted only 30 seconds, but in that time it transformed L’Aquila into a disaster zone. The quake’s epicentre was near the historic site, explaining why it bore the brunt of the devastation. But, in surrounding areas, more than 20 other cities and towns were significantly damaged. Tragedy struck at around 3.30 in the morning, as people slept. Children are among the victims. Material damage is vast. Up to 10,000 buildings have been damaged, including heritage sites. Some 50,000 people are homeless.