Italy earthquake: Aftershocks hamper rescue efforts

Italy earthquake: Aftershocks hamper rescue efforts

Italy earthquake: Aftershocks hamper rescue efforts

Written by Staff Writer

26 Aug, 2016 | 5:30 am

Hundreds of aftershocks have rocked devastated areas of central Italy, hampering search efforts after a deadly earthquake.A strong tremor with magnitude 4.3 struck on Thursday afternoon, sending rescuers fleeing from already fragile buildings.

About 5,000 rescue workers are combing through rubble for survivors using heavy machinery or bare hands.At least 250 people are now known to have died after Wednesday’s quake.

The 6.2-magnitude quake hit at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome in mountainous central Italy.More than 300 people have been treated in hospital and dozens are believed to be trapped under rubble.

Worst affected are the towns of Amatrice, Arquata, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.The towns are usually sparsely populated but have been swelled by tourists visiting for summer, making estimates for the precise number missing difficult.

The hunt for survivors continued throughout Wednesday night and into Thursday. With many buildings unsafe, some people were forced to sleep in their cars or in tents.

Search teams have asked locals to disable their wi-fi passwords to help efforts.The Italian Red Cross says residents’ home networks can assist with communications during the search for survivors.

Rescuers have advised journalists and bystanders to leave Amatrice urgently, as “the town is crumbling”, the BBC’s Jenny Hill says.

Two firemen burrowed deep into the rubble looking for a survivor. “It’s a dog,” one of them shouted out.

For half an hour the men kept digging. They passed water down to be given to the animal. And eventually they worked it free, then emerged, carrying it to the surface. There was a ripple of applause in the crowd.

“It doesn’t matter to us if it’s a person or an animal, we save it,” said Gianni Macerata, the fire officer in charge.

So the digging goes on. But so little is left of Pescara del Tronto it is unlikely that more survivors will be found here.

It seems unlikely too that this ancient little place, that has stood for centuries, can ever be rebuilt. Hundreds of years of history ended in an instant.

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