The death toll from the horrifying earthquake in Italy has risen above 250, with over 200 being in the town of Amatrice alone. The toll comes as survivors begin to recall their harrowing experiences, even among minor miracles like the 10-year-old girl who was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building 17 hours after the earthquake.
Four towns in Umbria, central Italy, have been essentially wiped off the map by the 6.2-magnitude quake, which struck at 3:30am local time. Many of the victims were killed as they slept in the their beds.
Questions have arisen as to why Italy was not more prepared for an earthquake of this magnitude, given the risks. The Guardian reports that 70% of Italy’s buildings are not built to seismic standards, even though there have been eight large earthquakes over the past 40 years. In 2009, an earthquake in L’Aquila – which is a mere 90km away – killed more than 300 people.
Amatrice usually has a population of around 2,500, but it was full of visitors at the time the quake struck. The fate of the 28 to 32 guests who were staying at Hotel Roma is currently unknown, though authorities are stressing that during the L’Aquila earthquake survivors were still found up to 72 hours after the initial event.
A powerful 4.3-magnitude aftershock was reported during rescue operations, causing emergency services to temporarily retreat from the scene and casting a large cloud of dust into the air.
“Right now we feel terrible pain,” said Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. “Italy is a family that has been hit and struck, but we are not going to be stopped. From tomorrow, and in the next few months, we’ll work on reconstruction. But now is a time to pray and shed tears; a moment for respect and pain for all Italians for this huge shock.”
Source: The Guardian.