Death toll rises in Italy quake

The death toll in Italian earthquake has risen to at least 247 as thousands of rescuers continue efforts to find survivors.

Dozens are believed to be trapped in ruined Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto, in mountainous central Italy.

Rescuers have advised journalists and bystanders to leave Amatrice urgently, as the town is crumbling.

Reports say new cracks appeared in the town’s hospital after strong aftershocks.

The search for survivors went on through the night, amid hundreds of tremors and an aftershock which rocked already damaged buildings.

More than 4,300 rescuers are using heavy lifting equipment and their bare hands.

The Country’s health Minister said many of the victims were children and there were warnings the toll could rise further.

The 6.2-magnitude quake hit at 03:36 (01:36 GMT) on Wednesday 100km (65 miles) north-east of Rome.

Some tremors after the quake were felt as far away as Rome.

“We are sleeping in the car and there were shocks all night. When the biggest one came, the car started moving and shaking,” a survivor from Amatrice, Monica said

A tented camp has been set up, as so many buildings are now unsafe.

The latest death toll was given on Thursday morning with 190 deaths in Rieti province and 57 in neighbouring Ascoli Piceno province.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was chairing an emergency cabinet meeting on Thursday. The agenda included reconstruction plans for the devastated area.

Rescuers said they had pulled five bodies from the ruins of the Hotel Roma in Amatrice. As many as 70 tourists were staying at the hotel when the quake struck. Many are feared to be in the rubble, though several were pulled out and given medical care.

Report says many of those affected were Italians on holiday in the region. Some were in Amatrice for a festival to celebrate a famous local speciality – amatriciana bacon and tomato sauce.

BBC