Amagnitude 6.0 earthquake struck central Italy early on Wednesday, with reports of damaged buildings and blackouts near the epicentre Rieti and residents fleeing their homes and running into the streets.
The shallow quake, estimated to have struck after 3:30am at a depth of 4km, was felt across a broad section of central Italy, including the capital Rome where people in homes in the historic centre felt a long swaying followed by aftershocks.
The European Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the magnitude at 6.1 and said the epicentre was northeast of Rome, near Rieti. The US Geological Survey put the magnitude at 6.2.
The mayor of Amatrice near Rieti, Sergio Perozzi, told state-run RAI Radio 1 that there were downed buildings in the city centre and that the lights had gone out. He said he was unable to get in touch with emergency responders or reach the hospital.
“What can I tell you? It’s a tragedy,” he said.
Aftershocks are still being felt across the whole of central Italy all the way to Naples and Foggia and with people reportedly in the streets in Florence.