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Amatrice, Italian mayor says town, 'not here any more' after strong earthquake, The worst hit towns were believed to be Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto, Cari told Reuters, adding that helicopters would be sent up at first light to assess the damage.
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Lina Mercantini of Ceselli, Umbria, told Reuters: “It was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it.”
Urbani, in the town of Scheggino, said: “Dear God it was awful. The walls creaked and all the books fell off the shelves.”
Amatrice, Italian mayor says town, 'not here any more' after strong earthquake
Residents of Rome, 170km (105 miles) from the registered epicentre, were woken by the quake, which rattled furniture and swayed lights in most of central Italy.
A 5.5 magnitude aftershock hit the same region an hour after the initial quake.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s spokesman said the government was in touch with the country’s civil protection agency and following the situation closely.
The last major earthquake to hit Italy struck the central city of L’Aquila in 2009, killing more than 300 people.
A refuge on the Gran Sasso mountain, popular with hikers and climbers, said on its Facebook page that a large piece of rock had collapsed in Wednesday’s quake.
An earthquake recorded at magnitude 6.2 has struck central Italy, with reports of extensive damage, people trapped, others fleeing into the streets and blackouts near the epicentre.
The mayor of the small town of Amatrice said residents were buried under debris and the town “isn’t here any more”.
The US Geological Survey said the quake hit near the town of Norcia in the region of Umbria at 3.36am. The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the magnitude at 6.1 and said the epicentre was north-east of Rome, near Rieti.
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