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Summary

  1. Rescue teams in central Italy are searching for survivors of an earthquake that has devastated several towns and villages in a mountainous region
  2. More than seventy people have been killed in the provinces of Umbria, Lazio and Marche
  3. Quake hits at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), 76km (47 miles) south-east of the city of Perugia, at a shallow depth of 10km (six miles)
  4. Quake epicentre is Norcia, near Perugia in mountainous central Italy but tremors felt in Rome
  5. One hundred and fifty people are missing in the village of Accumoli alone

Live Reporting

By Marysia Nowak

All times stated are UK

The main points again

  • At least 73 people have been killed in an earthquake in a mountainous area of central Italy.
  • The magnitude 6.2 quake struck at 03:36 (01:36 GMT), 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome, not far from Perugia, at a depth of 10km (six miles).
  • Many of the dead were in Accumoli, close to the epicentre, and a short distance away in Amatrice.
  • Many people are still believed buried under the rubble, and the death toll is expected to rise.
  • The quake was felt from Bologna in the north of Italy to Naples in the south. 
  • Some 80 aftershocks have been reported since. 

That concludes our live coverage of the earthquake in Italy for now. 

For further updates click here.

Italy earthquake town 'like an apocalypse'

Radio 4 PM programme

Tommaso della Longa, from the International Red Cross, is in Amatrice, one of the worst affected towns, and said it was "like an apocalypse". Mr della Longa told Carolyn Quinn that the Red Cross would be providing psychological assistance for people affected by the earthquake, as well as food and shelter, because "scenes like these are really hard to forget".  

BBC World Have Your Say on air now

The BBC World Service programme  World Have Your Say is talking to people in Umbria about the devastation the earthquake has caused. Live now until 6pm.

More images of the destruction in Amatrice

Rescuers carry a stretcher following the earthquake in Amatrice
AP
Rescuers carry a stretcher following the earthquake in Amatrice
A woman cries as she talks on a mobile phone in Amatrice
AFP
A woman cries as she talks on a mobile phone in Amatrice
Rescuers search amid rubble in Amatrice
AP
Rescuers search amid rubble in Amatrice
A firefighter walks past rubble in Amatrice
AFP
A firefighter walks past rubble in Amatrice
A destroyed car in Amatrice
Reuters
A destroyed car in Amatrice

Tent camps being set up

Two tent camps will be set up in Pescara and Arquata del Tronto, says the head of civil protection in the region of Le Marche, Cesare Spuri, who is co-ordinating relief efforts in the area.

One will have 30 tents, the other will have 15-20, the news agency Ansa reports.

Others who have lost their homes will be accommodated in fixed structures such as gymnasiums. 

Hot meals are being distributed to the displaced, while rescue work in the rubble continues into the evening, Ansa says.

Merkel offers help

Germany is ready to provide any aid needed by Italy, Chancellor Angela Merkel has said at a news conference in Estonia.

"The pictures we are seeing are awful. We will be ready to do everything we can to help Italy if needed, and our thoughts are with the people of the region today," Mrs Merkel said.

Angela Merkel speaks to the media from Estonia on Wednesday
AFP
The German chancellor sent her condolences

Scenes of devastation and misery

Rescuers and onlookers at a collapsed building in Amatrice
Reuters
Rescuers and onlookers at the site of a collapsed building in Amatrice
A Virgin Mary statue stands amid debris in the central Italian town of Pescara del Tronto
AFP
A Virgin Mary statue amid debris in the central Italian town of Pescara del Tronto
Rescuers amid the debris in Pescara del Tronto
AFP
Rescuers in Pescara del Tronto
Eldery residents sit outdoors in Cumuli
AP
The quake has been especially traumatic for elderly people​

Indignity amid the suffering

The plight of an 80-year-old woman trapped in the rubble is highlighted by the AP news agency. Rescuers had to persuade her to urinate where she was rather than wait until she got home as they were not in a position to get her out quickly enough. A ranger is quoted as telling her: "Listen, I know it's not nice to say but if you need to pee you just do it.'' 

The woman was later taken to the Ascoli Piceno hospital. Her 47-year-old daughter, who lived with her, was killed, the agency reports.

Nun in Amatrice says seven women still trapped in convent

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

James Reynolds spoke to a nun called Marianna in Amatrice, one of the towns worst affected by the earthquake. Marianna explained how she hid under a table during the earthquake and told him there were seven women from the convent still under the rubble; three nuns and four other women. She said the rescue operation didn't have the right equipment to lift the rubble.   

Vatican deploys emergency team to Amatrice

A six-man team from the Vatican City State's fire squad has been sent to quake-hit Amatrice, a Vatican statement says. Its deployment reflects "the Pope's concrete proximity to the people affected by the quake", the statement says.

Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology seismic activity chart

Sequenza Sismica tra le province di Rieti Perugia Ascoli L'Aquila Teramo aggiornamento ore 12 ingvterremoti.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/seq…

US State Department quake advice

US citizens in #Italy if you're safe after the #earthquake please contact family and friends, check in on social media

US citizens affected by the #ItalyEarthquake Call 06-4674 2944, or contact the embassy by USCitizensRome@state.gov italy.usembassy.gov/acs/warden.html

BreakingDeath toll reaches 73

Seventy-three people are now known to have died in the quake, according to Italy's civil protection unit.

Survivor pulled from rubble

The scene as a survivor is pulled from the rubble in Amatrice - James Reynolds reports

Rescuers battle against the heat and dust

Rescuers at work in Pescara del Tronto
Reuters
Rescuers hard at work in Pescara del Tronto, one of the worst-hit areas
Quake damage in Amatrice
AP
It is feared that the number of fatalities in Amatrice will rise

Amatrice social media appeal

There has been an appeal on social media, saying for each spaghetti all'amatriciana eaten in selected restaurants, €2 (£1.70; $2.25) will go to Amatrice - one from the diner, one from the restaurant. The initiative has been supported by many restaurateurs.

The play on the word Amatriciana picks out "Ama" which means love in Italian.

It says "let's help the population of Amatrice and the area affected by the quake".

Spaghetti all'amatriciana would have been served at the annual festival that was to have taken place on Saturday and Sunday.

E magnamoselo sto piatto d'amatriciana! #doniamo #terremoto @TrastevereRM @GarbatellaRM @Negramaro @Comune_Amatrice

E magnamoselo sto piatto d'amatriciana! #doniamo #terremoto @TrastevereRM @GarbatellaRM @Negramaro @Comune_Amatrice

Amatrice festival

Amatrice was to have held its 50th annual spaghetti festival on Saturday and Sunday. The town is known for its culinary excellence and has a spaghetti - all'amatriciana - named after it. 

Header of Twitter feed of the Community of Amatrice
Twitter
Amatrice Twitter page showing the festival had been due on 27 and 28 of August

BreakingAt least 60 killed in Italy quake - Ansa

The Italian news agency Ansa says the death toll has increased to at least 60.

Hospital evacuated

'Dante's inferno'

The Associated Press has been to Illica, a few kilometers north of Amatrice, finding residents waiting for help to try to rescue loved ones from the rubble.

"We came out to the piazza, and it looked like Dante's Inferno," said Agostino Severo, a Rome resident visiting Illica. "People crying help, help. Rescue workers arrived after one hour, one-and-a-half hours."

Cultural heritage not spared

Aerial image of Amatrice in rubble
BBC/Italian firebrigade
This aerial image of Amatrice shows severe damage to the medieval church of Sant’Agostino in Amatrice (inset and circled)

'Dark and disorientating'

Victoria Rutter, a British woman on holiday in Italy, was staying at a campsite close to the epicentre of the quake in a static caravan perched on the edge of a hill:

"We woke up in darkness with the whole thing shaking, things falling off the shelves and obviously it was very dark and it was very disorientating, we felt like the whole caravan was sliding down the edge of the hill, everyone was screaming, we could hear people around us screaming and trying to work out what was happening. And eventually we got out of bed and managed to come to enough 'cos we were asleep and we managed to work out it was an earthquake because I don't necessarily expect to have an earthquake on holiday in Italy, so I think it took us a while to work that out.

Victoria RutterHolidaymaker

Aerial photo of the damage

Aerial photo of the damage in Amatrice
AP
An aerial photo of the damage in Amatrice

Full extent of the damage is slowly being realised

A sign showing the name of a square under rubble in the central village of Accumoli
AFP
A sign showing the name of a square under rubble in the central village of Accumoli
Firefighters searching for quake victims amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice
EPA
Firefighters searching for quake victims amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice
Search and rescue teams search for missing people amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice
EPA
Search and rescue teams search for missing people amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice
Search and rescue teams with dogs search for missing people amid the rubble of collapsed buildings in Amatrice
EPA
Sniffer dogs are used to trace signs of life under the rubble in Amatrice

Appeal for emergency equipment

"We need chainsaws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams: everything, we need everything,'' civil protection worker Andrea Gentili told the Associated Press at the epicentre of the quake.

Amatrice parish priest Savino D'Amelio meanwhile tells AP that the quake is an "immense tragedy" and that all people who live there can do is hope there are as few victims as possible "and that we all have the courage to move on".

Cultural heritage destroyed

Belltower of #amatrice church had recently been restored - now completely destroyed #earthquake

Belltower of #amatrice church had recently been restored - now completely destroyed #earthquake

Fears that Amatrice's death toll will rise

The mayor of quake-hit Amatrice tells the AP news agency that rescue teams are trying to reach about 70 hamlets around his central Italian city and that so far 17 deaths have been confirmed in Amatrice alone.

 But Sergio Pirozzi predicts that number will rise.

Mr Pirozzi says that he has provided rescue teams with information as to where people may still be trapped under debris.

More from Julian Miglierini

Scenes of total devastation in the centre of #Amatrice #earthquake - people still being pulled out of rubble

Scenes of total devastation in the centre of #Amatrice #earthquake - people still being pulled out of rubble

The BBC's Julian Miglierini is in Amatrice

People being treated on the streets of #Amatrice - the centre of the town is severely damaged #earthquake #italy

People being treated on the streets of #Amatrice - the centre of the town is severely damaged #earthquake #italy

BBC quake map

Map
BBC

European Commission president offers his help

We stand, as ever, in solidarity with the Italian nation and are ready to assist in any way we can. #ItalyEarthquake

We stand, as ever, in solidarity with the Italian nation and are ready to assist in any way we can. #ItalyEarthquake

British disaster aid charity Shelterbox to send team to Italy

International disaster relief agency ShelterBox, based in the UK but with an affiliate in Milan, is sending a team to the disaster area within 24 hours, the charity says in a statement: 

"If emergency or temporary shelter is needed for families and individuals made homeless in the disaster, ShelterBox has adequate supplies of tents and other equipment standing by in the UK and at other sites across Europe."

Before and after images

The earthquake badly damaged the centre of Amatrice, shown in these two pictures of the same street before and after the quake – 24 August 2016
AP/Google
The earthquake badly damaged the centre of Amatrice
An image of a house in Amatrice before and after the earthquake in central Italy – 24 August 2016
Reuters/Google
A house in Amatrice before and after the earthquake
An image of some of the damage on the Via Salaria road in Pescara del Tronto compared to an image of the street before the quake – 24 August 2016
EPA/Google
The tremors levelled much of Pescara del Tronto

Number of dead rises to 'at least 38'

At least 38 people have been killed in the quake and that number is likely to rise, Italy's civil protection unit has said in its first official body count.

More earthquake images

More powerful images are coming in as the extent of the damage in the earthquake becomes clearer.

Two residents hug each other next to collapsed and damaged houses in Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, 24 August 2016
EPA
Sadness and despair in Pescara del Tronto
A man cries as another injured is helped in Amatrice, central Italy, where a 6.2 earthquake struck just after 3:30 a.m., Wednesday, 24 August, 2016.
AP
A man cries as volunteers search for more survivors in the rubble in Amatrice
A police officer holding a child inspects collapsed and damaged houses in Pescara del Tronto, central Italy, 24 August 2016,
EPA
A policewoman holding a baby in Pescara del Tronto

Quake epicentre co-ordinates

The US Geological Survey has provided co-ordinates for the epicentre of the quake as 42.822°N 13.126°E - about 4km north east of Norcia and 40km north of Amatrice.  

Map
USGS

Hollande offers his help and his sympathy

Francois Hollande
AFP
French President Francois Hollande has offered Italy "all the help that might be necessary" after the earthquake. He described it as a "terrible tragedy" in a statement after a special security meeting on Wednesday. Mr Hollande offered the support of "all the French people". But he did not elaborate on what help France is offering.