Wednesday, August 24, 2016

 

Girl, 10, pulled from rubble 17 hours after 6.2-magnitude quake struck central Italy

Nearly 24 hours after a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy early Wednesday, killing at least 247, aftershocks continued and the odd survivor was still being pulled from the rubble.

On Wednesday night, about 17 hours after the quake struck at 3:36 a.m. local time -- with the towns of Amatrice and Accumoli, about 60 miles northeast of Rome, being the hardest hit -- firefighters pulled a 10-year-old girl alive from the rubble in Pescara del Tronto.

"You can hear something under here. Quiet, quiet," one rescue worker said, according to The AP, before soon urging her on: "Come on, Giulia, come on, Giulia."

Cheers broke out when she was pulled out.

But, Christian Bianchetti, a volunteer from Rieti who was working in devastated Amatrice where flood lights were set up so the rescue could continue through the night, admits that the girl's recovery was not the norm. "Unfortunately, 90 percent we pull out are dead, but some make it, that's why we are here," he told The AP.

And Italy's health minister, Beatrice Lorenzin, visiting the devastated area, said many of the victims were children

Italy's civil protection agency updated the death toll from 159 to 247 early Thursday morning. Of the 247 dead, 190 are in the province of Rieti and 57 are in the province of Ascoli Piceno. The agency also reported that at least 368 others were injured.

Italian Premier Matteo Renzi visited the zone Wednesday, greeted rescue teams and survivors, and pledged that "No family, no city, no hamlet will be left behind."

Emergency responders are facing power outages and ruptured gas lines.

U.S. citizen Michael Gilroy was with his girlfriend on the second floor of a three-story hotel in the town of Montepulciano when the quake hit.

"It was just before 4:00 in the morning," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "We gathered our stuff and ran out as quickly as we could with everyone else."

"On the way out, we saw a pretty big chandelier swaying from side to side and I think that’s when we knew for sure," Gilroy added.

Gilroy said the destruction was devastating in Montepulciano, which is nestled atop a hill in southern Tuscany. He and his girlfriend have since left the town for Rome.

"It looks like there are multiple homes that have come down completely into the roads," he said. "These roads are very, very narrow, and the homes are built on top of each other, and they’re all brick, and when they come down, there’s not a lot of space in between."

The U.S. State Department is not aware of any U.S. citizen casualties, a State Department official said, adding that the U.S. Embassy is working to verify the welfare and whereabouts of U.S. citizens in the area.

Tremors were felt as far away as Rome, more than 100 miles from the quake's epicenter.

In the town of Amatrice, the damage was so extensive that Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said, "The town isn't here anymore," The Associated Press reported.

The quake was felt across four regions of central Italy: Lazio, Umbria, Abruzzo and Marche.

The central Apennine region, a mountainous area of central Italy, has had several significant temblors, according to the USGS.

In April 2009, a 6.3 magnitude quake near the town of L’Aquila killed at least 295 people, injured more than 1,000 and left at least 55,000 homeless.

In September 1997, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in the area killed 11 people and injured more than 100, destroying approximately 80,000 homes in the Marche and Umbria regions.

On January 13, 1915, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake near Avezzano killed approximately 32,000 people.

Death Toll Climbs to 247 After Earthquake in Central Italy, 368 Injured
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