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World Europe 25 Aug 2016 Screams from under t ...

Screams from under the rubble

Published Aug 25, 2016, 2:12 am IST
Updated Aug 25, 2016, 2:24 am IST
Locals frantically dig with bare hands for loved ones. Three quarters of an Italian town destroyed.
The 13th Century bell-tower of Amatrice before and after the earthquake. (Photo: AP)
 The 13th Century bell-tower of Amatrice before and after the earthquake. (Photo: AP)

Accumoli, Italy: Agostino Severo, a resident of Rome was visiting the hamlet of Illica, which was hit by the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy. “We came out to the piazza, and it looked like Dante’s Inferno. People crying for help, help. Rescue workers arrived after one hour... one and a half hours,” he told the Daily Mail.

The powerful earthquake devastated a string of mountainous towns in central Italy, trapping residents under piles of rubble, killing at least 73 people and leaving thousands homeless.


Rescuers spoke of hearing children’s screams from the rubble and locals were spotted frantically digging with their bare hands to try and save loved ones.

A family of four, including two boys aged 8 months and 9 years, were buried when their house in Accumoli imploded.

As rescue workers carried away the body of the infant, carefully covered by a small blanket, the children’s grandmother blamed God: “He took them all at once,” she wailed.

Some of the worst damage was in Amatrice. A resident of Amatrice, Giancarlo, sitting in the road wearing just his underwear said: “It’s terrible, I’m 65-years-old and I have never experienced anything like this, small tremors, yes, but nothing this big. This is a catastrophe.”


The mayor of Arquata del Tronto, Aleandro Petrucci, spoke of a disaster. “The village isn’t there anymore. Almost all the houses in Pescara del Tronto have collapsed.”

The first victim to be named by local media reports was an 18-month-old baby — Marisol Piermarini — who was sleeping in her crib when the house she was staying in Arquata del Tronto collapsed.

Survivors described “apocalyptic” scenes. The BBC reported that residents using sheets to climb down from the upper floors of damaged houses.

In Accumoli a local photographer spoke of 15 rescuers digging with bare hands to try to reach the family. “They can hear the screams of the mum and one of the children,” he told BBC.


Rescuers were also trying to dig out a 58-year-old man trapped in his home.