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Summary

  1. 250 people are now known to have died in the earthquake that hit central Italy on Wednesday
  2. The earthquake, which had a magnitude of 6.2, was felt in Rome, 140km (85 miles) to the south-west
  3. Rescuers concentrate the search for survivors in four towns reduced to little more than rubble - Amatrice, Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto
  4. The Italian Red Cross says there is still a chance of finding people alive
  5. Survivors whose homes were destroyed spent the night in cars and tents
  6. All times in BST (GMT+1)

Live Reporting

By John Harrison, Nalina Eggert and David Gritten

All times stated are UK

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Here's how things stand:

  • The death toll from Wednesday morning's earthquake is now at 250
  • The worst-affected towns are Amatrice, Accumoli, Arquata del Tronto and Pescara del Tronto
  • Thousands of rescuers are searching through the rubble for signs of life but accept the probability of finding more survivors is low and diminishing
  • Hundreds of aftershocks have shaken the area as rescuers worked
  • Many buildings have been declared unsafe for habitation, leaving survivors homeless
  • Relief missions have set up tent camps for people who have nowhere else to go

Survivors include a 10-year-old girl who was pulled from the rubble 17 hours after the earthquake.

The BBC's Damian Grammaticas, at the scene, says people freeze with every aftershock.

Before and after pictures show the extent of the devastation.

You can follow the story with the BBC on our website where we will bring you major updates.

Camps are set up for earthquake refugees

Many people have been left homeless as their homes are no longer safe to live in.

Tent camps have been set up for them, complete with field hospitals.

This one is in Arquata del Tronto.

A general view of a tent camp for the earthquake refugees on August 25, 2016 in Arquata del Tronto, Italy
Getty Images
Arquata del Tronto hospital in a tent
Getty Images
A general view of a tent camp for the earthquake refugees on August 25, 2016 in Arquata del Tronto, Italy
Getty Images

Breaking'A number of British nationals have been affected' - UK foreign secretary

My deepest sympathies are with the Italian people and everyone affected by the terrible earthquake that struck central Italy. The British Government has offered any assistance that we can to help with the recovery effort and I have spoken with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni to express my condolences personally. As the scale of the disaster has become clearer we now know that a number of British nationals have been affected. British Embassy staff are in the region providing consular support, and we have deployed additional staff to support this effort.

Boris JohnsonUK Foreign Secretary

BreakingDeath toll rises to 250

Italy's civil protection service now says the earthquake's death toll stands at 250 people, with 365 injured.

Hotel, school and church are damaged in Amatrice

Buildings in Amatrice in Italy have crumbled in the earthquake that hit on Wednesday. Pictures of the damage continue to emerge. 

crumbled stone walls
AP
A partial view of the Hotel Roma, a town landmark which has a restaurant that serves the famous pasta dish, in Amatrice, central Italy,
AP
The Hotel Roma, a landmark in the town, shows serious damage to at least its upper floors
half of building has come away in the quake
AP
The town's school suffered badly
rescuers standing by a damaged church
AP

#Eatforitaly donations drive by Jamie Oliver

The English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has announced on Instagram that some of his Jamie's Italian restaurants across the UK will sell a dish from the area affected by the earthquake for the rest of August, with £2 from each dish going to the International Red Cross relief effort. 

"I think we can easily make thousands and thousands of pounds to help," he wrote.

"Money will go to supporting firefighters in the set-up of tent camps for homeless and provision of food and clothing and medical assistance to people injured, old, kids, pregnant. 

"Every bit of help will count - big love to all and big love from me and my teams to our friends in Italy. We love you."

View more on instagram

Millions for euros for earthquake-proofing buildings 'never spent'

The Italian newspaper Il Giornale says millions of euros of government funds were set aside to earthquake-proof buildings, but the money was never spent.

The funds were intended to pay for the retrofitting of buildings according to anti-seismic guidelines, journalist Ivan French writes. But "Byzantine bureaucracy" kept them locked in public coffers.

Footage from the Amatrice aftershock

The aftershock that hit Amatrice on Thursday afternoon has been caught on film.

Italian earthquake aftershock caught on film

The BBC's James Reynolds is in the town. He says there are fears that rescue workers may be caught up in the area hit.

'Fear rescue workers may be caught in Italy aftershock'

Survivors escorted home to pick up belongings

Associated Press

Italian firefighters are escorting some earthquake survivors home so they can pick up their belongings, Associated Press reports. They may not be able to ever return to their homes and some have been sleeping in tents and in cars.

Photographer: Pescara del Tronto is 'fully devastated'

Paolo Brera is a photojournalist with La Repubblica. He spent yesterday and this morning in the badly hit village of Pescara del Tronto.

He told the BBC: "I saw a woman carrying her four-year-old son in a neck brace.

"Her two boys had been staying with their grandparents in the village while she and her husband stayed in Rome to work.

"They received a phone call in the middle of the night telling them about the earthquake so they drove down as fast as they could.

"The father went to the house and when he called for them he could hear the grandmother and the two boys calling. He managed to dig them out with the help of the search and rescue teams.

"The two boys were OK with some minor injuries. The grandmother also survived with a fracture but the grandfather was crushed and killed.

"Overnight, people stayed in a big camp on the edge of the village.

"There were perhaps 100 of them, some from the village itself, others who had come down to search for family members and people from surrounding areas who were too scared to sleep in their houses with all the tremors still going on."  

He said the area "is fully devastated", adding: "I have seen lots of people being taken from the rubble.

"I spoke to a fireman and he said it looks like Onna, which was the worst-hit area in the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. There is just so much destruction."

A team of rescuers on a pile of rubble
Paolo Brera
A man in wellyboots and a dog, on a pile of rubble
Paolo Brera
rescuers getting a stretcher ready while photographers look on
Paolo Brera
the village of Pescara del Tronto seen from afar, with some buildings still intact but many destroyed
Paolo Brera

More than 2,500 volunteers part of rescue

Reuters

More than 2,500 people working to rescue victims of the earthquake are volunteers, the Civil Protection Department has told the Reuters news agency.

"We dedicate all our free time to training, often to the detriment of our families. Many of us are divorced," said Paolo Cortelli, a member of the Alpine Rescue national service who is a veterinarian by profession and comes from the nearby city of Terni. 

It reports countries such as Germany, France and Israel all offered to send teams to support the disaster relief, but the Italian government "politely declined", saying its experienced emergency services and army of unpaid workers did not need any back-up.

More than 420 Red Cross workers on ground

The Italian Red Cross Youth tweets that more than 420 Red Cross workers are in the earthquake-affected towns in central Italy.

The tweet links to a press release saying the workers include medical and logistics staff, dog units, specialist rescuers and psychological support staff.

Ad #Amatrice oltre 420 operatori di #CroceRossa impegnati in ricerca e soccorso. Aiuta su--> goo.gl/UKooQA

Ad #Amatrice oltre 420 operatori di #CroceRossa impegnati in ricerca e soccorso. Aiuta su--> goo.gl/UKooQA

Sister's grief for 75-year-old victim

Rita Rosine, 63, told the AFP news agency her 75-year-old sister was trapped under the ruins of a collapsed house, presumed dead. 

"The situation is worse than in war. It's awful," she said.

"They say it will take two days to dig her out because they have to shore up the surrounding buildings. She didn't deserve to die like that, she was so good." 

Airbnb waives fees in earthquake area

The accommodation-sharing website Airbnb has waived service charges for people who need urgent accommodation after the earthquake in central Italy. It has also offered an option for people to list their spare rooms for free.

Screengrab of Airbnb website
Airbnb

Rescuers dig with their bare hands

Italian fire officers are using their bare hands to search through finer parts of the rubble.

Firefighters continue digging through the rubble of collapsed buildings, in Arquata, central Italy, a day after a deadly earthquake
AP

Earthquake rescuers seek unlocked wi-fi

Rescue teams searching for survivors
Reuters
The Italian Red Cross has published a step-by-step guide on how to remove Wi-Fi passwords

Rescue teams searching for earthquake survivors trapped in central Italy have asked locals to unlock their wi-fi passwords.

Rescue teams searching for survivors

Earthquake rescuers seek unlocked wi-fi

Rescue teams searching for earthquake survivors trapped in central Italy have asked locals to unlock their wi-fi passwords.

Read more

Aftershock magnitude: 4.3

An aftershock that hit Amatrice in central Italy this afternoon had a preliminary magnitude of 4.3.

The Associated Press news agency says one building partially collapsed in the aftershock and it caused panic in the town, which suffered the heaviest death toll of Wednesday's earthquake.

Firefighters 'need to believe'

Fire official, Lorenzo Botti, has said his teams "need to believe there's someone out there alive", as the search for survivors continues.

The chances of finding people alive in these conditions, in this type of setting, well, it's challenging. We need to believe there's someone out there alive who we can save. We are working against the clock to try and find people still alive.

Lorenzo BottiFire department official

Listen: The search 'must go on'

BBC Outside Source

Rescue co-ordinator Giovanni Coviello has spoken to the BBC's Outside Source programme on the World Service. He says there is still a chance people are alive under the rubble but the search will end this evening as the likelihood of finding survivors dwindles.

For now, he says: "We are very very tired, but we must go on."

Rescue coordinator Giovanni Coviello is still hopeful but the window is closing

Appeal for wi-fi connection

One of the most-shared tweets since the Italy earthquake was a Red Cross appeal for people in the area to disable their wifi passwords. This would allow the rescuers to communicate with each other more easily than if they were all relying on mobile networks.

#Terremoto, per favorire comunicazioni e operazioni di soccorso vi invitiamo a togliere la password della rete wi-fi

#Terremoto, per favorire comunicazioni e operazioni di soccorso vi invitiamo a togliere la password della rete wi-fi

Italian newspaper front pages

The aftermath of the deadly earthquake in central Italy dominates the front pages of the press on 25 August, with some papers wondering why the tragedy was not prevented.

Read more

Dogs in the rescue effort

Police officers and other emergency workers are using dogs to help them search the rubble for signs of life.

A policeman and his dog, Leo, at work on the rubble of a collapsed building in Pescara del Tronto, center of Italy, 25 August 2016.
EPA
A search dog handler talks on his phone, on August 25, 2016 in Amatrice, Italy.
Getty Images
rescue dog in Italy silhoueeted against sunset
AFP

And the human-canine teams helped rescue some dogs from under the rubble, too.

This one had been buried for 30 hours and was returned to an owner who was in tears, this tweet says.

#terremoto, #vigilidelfuoco salvano #cagnolino dalle macerie dopo 30 ore: riconsegnato alla proprietaria in lacrime

#terremoto, #vigilidelfuoco salvano #cagnolino dalle macerie dopo 30 ore: riconsegnato alla proprietaria in lacrime

BreakingAftershock in Amatrice

The BBC's Jenny Hill tweets that there has been a "violent" aftershock in Amatrice.

Violent aftershock . Looks as tho significant damage to Amatrice

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

Paolo Beccegato, vice director of the charity Caritas Italy, told BBC Radio 4's The World at One there is "a lot of suffering" in the affected area. He said the situation was "very difficult", even compared to other earthquakes to have struck Italy.

Caritas Italy CEO says communities hit by the earthquake may struggle to rebuild.

'Fifteen dead' in Casale hamlet

Listen: Time running out, says top Italian official

Today Programme

BBC Radio 4

The possibility of finding people alive is falling as time goes by, David Fabi, of Italy's National Service of Civil Protection, said this morning.

Mr Fabi said 5,000 people were still involved in a massive rescue effort. 

'Hundreds of years of history ended' by quake

Pescara del Tronto
EPA

BBC correspondent Damian Grammaticas has written about the scene in Pescara del Tronto. He says:

"Marco and his friends, all members of a local rugby team, had come immediately to Pescara del Tronto to help search for survivors. Looking at the devastation, he shook his head. "It'll be a miracle if we find anyone alive here," he said. 

"In a hole beneath him, two firemen had burrowed deep into the rubble looking for a survivor. They were in a tiny space under the stones. 

"'It's a dog,' one of them shouted out. For half an hour the men kept digging. They passed water down to be given to the animal. And eventually they worked it free, then emerged, carrying it to the surface. 

"There was a ripple of congratulations through the crowd. 

"'It doesn't matter to us if it's a person or an animal, we save it,' said Gianni Macerata, the fire officer in charge of his team here. 

Then he raised his hand and called for silence. A listening probe and a camera were dropped further into the rubble, looking for signs of life. So the digging goes on. 

But so little is left of Pescara del Tronto it is unlikely that more survivors will be found here. 

It seems unlikely too that this ancient little place, that has stood for centuries, can ever be rebuilt. Hundreds of years of history ended in an instant. 

Read more from Damian.

Eyewitness: 'So much destruction'

BBC Monitoring

News from around the globe

An eyewitness has described the utter devastation caused by the earthquake, drawing parallels with the 2009 L'Aquila quake, which killed more than 300 people in the Abruzzo region.

"The area is fully devastated. I have seen lots of people being taken from the rubble. I spoke to a fireman and he said it looks like Onna, which was the worst-hit area in the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake. There is just so much destruction. Overnight, people [in Pescara del Tronto] stayed in a big camp on the edge of the village. There were perhaps 100 of them, some from the village itself, others who had come down to search for family members and people from surrounding areas who were too scared to sleep in their houses with all the tremors still going on."

Paolo BreraLa Repubblica photo journalist

Children play next to makeshift tents

BBC correspondent tweets...

Survivor tells of 'evil murmur of moving walls'

A Polish woman who survived the earthquake says she will never forget the "evil murmur of moving walls'', during the tremor.

The Associated Press agency says Ewa Szwajak told Polish TVN24 how she and her husband were woken in the town Amatrice by tremors and a "terrible noise" and escaped through a balcony with her son, 4.

"We knew it was an earthquake. I will remember 'til the end of my life this noise, the evil murmur of moving walls", she said. 

She said her neighbors and their 13-year-old grandson did not survive.

Outside and inside of tents for displaced people

Displaced people in Pescara del Tronto are living in tents which look like this on the outside​.

A temporary camp in Pescara del Tronto
AFP

And like this on the inside.

Beds inside a tent of a temporary camp in Pescara del Tronto
AFP

Bravo the guard dog refuses to leave post

Bravo, an injured guard dog, stubbornly refused to leave the scene of his collapsed home near Amatrice, La Stampa (in Italian) reported. It reported when police entered the premises where Bravo lived on Thursday, he remained true to his training and growled to fend them off. Earlier the dog's owners had been pulled from the rubble. Officers were eventually able to win the dog over, the newspaper reported, and he was taken away to receive treatment for a serious leg injury.

Earthquake search could end soon

"I think they [any survivors] can survive for 12 or 15 hours more - but at the end of this [Thursday] afternoon we'll declare to stop the search because we will not have a probability to find people alive," Forest Rangers regional commander Giovanni Coviello tells the BBC. He says rescuers are continuing to dig through the rubble with their bare hands. 

Region 'already confronting economic stagnation'

This quake-hit area of Italy - renowned for its gently sloping vineyards and olive groves, as well as its precious towns of cobblestone streets - was already confronting a plague of economic stagnation, its population aging and decreasing, The Washington Post says. "Not as rich as Italy’s north or as aid-worthy as its poorer south, it is a part of the country where investment in infrastructure lags."  

Moving image of nun in Amatrice

A number of heartbreaking images have come through from the villages and towns hit by the earthquake. One of the most arresting photographs was taken on Wednesday by Associated Press photographer, Massimo Percossi, who captured this image of a nun, herself injured in the earthquake, using a mobile telephone while lying next to a victim.  

Nun lying next to victim
AP

Romanian death toll rises

Romania's foreign ministry has now said five Romanians have died following the earthquake in Italy - an increase on reports from earlier today stating two people had died. 

The latest update states 11 people from Romania are also missing.

Number of missing people unknown in Pescara del Tronto

A local official says there could have been up to 300 people staying in the hillside village of Pescara del Tronto which was virtually razed by Wednesday's earthquake. 

The village has only four permanently resident families, but many Italians own holiday homes there. Until they have accounted for everyone, rescue workers will be searching through the rubble.

Rescue workers search the rubble of collapsed buildings in Pescara del Tronto (25 August 2016)
EPA
Rescue workers search the rubble of collapsed buildings in Pescara del Tronto (25 August 2016)
EPA
Rescue workers search the rubble of collapsed buildings in Pescara del Tronto (25 August 2016)
EPA
Rescue workers search the rubble of collapsed buildings in Pescara del Tronto (25 August 2016)
EPA

Only a door remains of this house

Quake damaged building in Pescara del Tronto
AFP

A door is practically all that remains of this​ quake-hit building in Pescara del Tronto.

Italy's history of deadly earthquakes

Earthquakes are an ever-present danger for those who live along the Apennine Mountains in Italy. Here are some of the deadliest:

  • 6 April 2009: A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of central Italy, killing more than 300 people
  • 23 November 1980: Southern Italy was rocked by a 6.9-magnitude quake, with the Campania and Basilicata regions worst hit. More than 2,700 people were killed and almost 400,000 left homeless
  • 23 July 1930: A quake measuring 6.5 hit Irpinia, a region of the southern Appenines, about 40km east of Naples - 1,400 people died
  • 28 December 1908: More than 80,000 died after a 7.2-magnitude quake, which devastated Sicily's second-largest city Messina and triggered a tsunami.

Jonathan Amos: Quakes 'ever present' for Apennines