More Than 290 Dead In Italian Earthquake, State Of Emergency Declared

Photo: Alessandra Tarantino/AP Images.
Update: The AP is reporting the Italian quake's death toll at 290, with Romania Foreign Ministry reporting 10 citizens dead and an additional 16 unaccounted for. The updated total was released on Saturday morning by the Civil Protection agency.
Update, August 26, 2:45 p.m.: The death toll in the devastating earthquake that hit Italy on Wednesday rose to at least 268 people. A state of emergency was declared as the possibility of finding more survivors continues to diminish, the BBC reported.

The earthquake also left more than 400 injured, and forced over 2,000 to take refuge in makeshift camps, CNN reported.

It's unclear how many people may still be trapped under the debris. As the rescue mission enters its third day, the crucial 72-hour window to find more survivors is quickly closing.

The areas affected by the earthquake have suffered various aftershocks, with the latest being a 4.7 quake that was felt on Friday.
Update, August 25, 2016, 7 a.m.: The death toll in this week's devastating earthquake in central Italy has risen to 247, The Associated Press reports. Rescue efforts are continuing.
Update, August 24, 2016, 6 p.m.: Italian authorities have raised the earthquake’s death count to 159, with more than 360 injuries, according to NBC News.

The search efforts at a collapsed hotel were suspended after 10 p.m. local time, when it became too dark to safely continue rescue efforts, The Associated Press reported.
A bright spot in the ongoing search efforts was the rescue of a young girl who was pulled from the rubble at about 8:30 p.m. local time, more than 15 hours after the earthquake destroyed the town. Women ran up the street in Pescara del Tronto yelling, “She’s alive!” after the 10-year-old was found. The girl was taken to the hospital, but no further details of her condition are being released.

Update, August 24, 2016, 1:50 p.m.
The death count in the earthquake that struck central Italy on Wednesday has been raised to 120, The Associated Press reported. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announced the raised count on Wednesday afternoon after visiting rescue crews and survivors around the city of Amatrice and the Le Marche region.

The U.S. Department of State has offered its condolences and support in the aftermath of the earthquake. State Dept. Spokesman John Kirby said, “The American people stand with Italians in this difficult time."

Update, August 24, 2016, 10:15 a.m.
Italian officials have raised the death count to at least 73, according to The Associated Press. The head of the Immacolata Postiglione, the Italian emergency service, said at a press conference that the numbers were still provisional as rescue operations continue.

Update, August 24, 2016, 6:45 a.m.:
The death toll now stands at 37 and 150 people are also reported missing, according to the BBC. Italian premier Matteo Renzi thanked rescuers on the scene and added that he would visit the affected areas later this afternoon, ABC News reports.

Update, August 24, 2016, 5:30 a.m.:
The BBC reports that at least 21 people have died in the earthquake, with many more trapped under rubble. The village of Pescara del Tronto is said to have suffered the most casualties.
This story was originally published on August 23, 2016.

An earthquake hit central Italy at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday morning local time, Reuters reports.

The epicenter is located close to the town of Norcia. Rome was also affected.

The U.S. Geological Survey has issued a red alert, which indicates a high level of damage, according to The Telegraph.

"It was the worst (quake) of my life," Matteo Berlenga, a resident of Umbria, told Reuters. A fire department representative told the news service that several buildings were damaged.

The mayor of Amatrice said "half of the town is gone," The Telegraph reported.

The only confirmed casualties so far are an older couple who died in their house.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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