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Earthquake hits central Italy, leaving at least 21 dead

People in central Italy have woken up this morning to devastating scenes of rubble, after an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.2 hit in the early hours.

The powerful quake hit central Italy, leaving at least 21 people dead. Italian officials say that the number of fatalities is predicted to rise, as there are still people trapped under the rubble.

The earthquake hit at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), with the epicentre striking Norcia, around 105 miles’ northeast of Rome. The quake had a shallow depth of 10km.

It is reported that some of the buildings shook for 20 seconds.

The town of Amatrice, is said to have suffered from some of the worst damage, as several people died in the town.

The mayor, Sergio Perozzi, told RAI radio: “The roads in and out of town are cut off. Half the town is gone. There are people under the rubble. There’s been a landslide and a bridge might collapse.”

Emergency workers have been making efforts to rescue six people trapped under a collapsed building in the main street of the town.

The mayor of a town a further distance towards the north of Amatrice, Accumoli, stated that six people had died.

“One person was pulled out of the rubble during the night.” He said

“Then there is a family of four under a collapsed house and sadly there are two small children among them.”

Two people have also died in the village of Pescara del Tronto, police say.

Emergency workers continue to race against time to pull people from the rubble.

Andrea Tertulliani, a Seismologist, said it is likely that there will be further shocks.

“But it can’t be ruled out that there could be another shock on the same scale as the main one.” he said.