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Over 200 killed in central Italian earthquake

25 agosto 2016 | 12.32
LETTURA: 2 minuti

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The number of people killed in the devastating earthquake in central Italy rose overnight to more than 200, the country's civil protection agency said on Thursday as rescue teams raced to reach dozens more victims still trapped under rubble.

Almost all the confirmed victims - 190 - were in the province of Rieti in the Lazio region. A total 57 were in the town of Arquata del Tronto in the province of Ascoli Piceno in the neighbouring Marche region, the civil protection agency said, citing government figures.

Many of the victims were children, Italy's health minister said, and there were warnings the toll could rise further.

Over 260 people were being treated in hospital for injuries they received in the magnitude 6.0 quake that struck the central Apennines at 3.36 am local time on Wednesday, destroying Arquata del Tronto and several other mountainside towns.

The quake epicentre was near Norcia, 100 kilmetres northeast of Rome.

At least 2,500 people left homeless by the earthquake spent the night in tents set up on local sports grounds, the civil protection agency reported.

Searches went on through the night and more than 4,300 rescuers are using heavy lifting equipment and their bare hands to reach victims.

Wednesday's powerful quake was followed by 60 aftershocks over the following 24 hours and a second magnitude 4.9 tremor at 5.17 am on Thursday whose epicentre was between Arquata del Tronto in the province of Rieti and Accumoli in the province of Ascoli Piceno in Marche.

Italy's prime minister Matteo Renzi was chairing an emergency cabinet meeting on the earthquake Thursday whose agenda included reconstruction plans for the devastated area.

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