6.2 Earthquake rocks Italy

6.2-magnitude earthquake rocks Italy, near the city of Rieti, central Italy, at around 3.30am local time. 250 confirmed dead so far. More than 1,000 people have been displaced by the quake.

Buildings swayed from Rome to Venice. But large parts of Amatrice — a town of 2,700 known for supplying the chefs of popes and the recipe for one of Italy’s greatest pasta dishes­, were left in total ruin. Amatrice was among the worst hit, part of a list of unlucky towns including Accumoli, Posta and Arquata del Tronto.

The earthquake struck in the middle of the night, rescuers feverishly dug through the rubble of downed homes and apartments looking for survivors. The powerful earthquake hit 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) southeast of Norcia at 3:36 a.m.

Two churches, from the 14th and 15th centuries, collapsed.

Hard-to-reach locations

Many settlements are only accessible by small roads, posing a challenge for authorities moving in heavy machinery to the disaster sites. In the village of Saletta, a settlement of about 20 people, residents used their bare hands to ferret through the rubble in a desperate search for neighbors. With heavy lifting equipment just starting to reach the isolated village, people used tractors, farm equipment and simple hand tools to break through what was left of old stone villas.

The 15th-century main gate to the town which resisted invasions and past earthquakes crumbled.

The main problem in the area was the large number of older buildings that cannot withstand earthquakes of this magnitude. The problem is that the earthquake-proof building code only applies to new buildings, To retrofit an old building is a very complex and costly operation. So it’s only done for key buildings, such as hospitals in the area.

 


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