267 dead in Italy earthquake (UPDATING)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug. 26

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10:52 (GMT+4) The number of people killed in the massive earthquake that shook central Italy on Aug. 24 rose to 267 on Aug. 26 and nearly 400 injured people were in hospitals, the Civil Protection department said, Reuters reported.

It said aftershocks were continuing in the area. More than 900 aftershocks have been registered since the quake struck, 57 of them since midnight.

20:15 (GMT+4) The death toll from a devastating earthquake in central Italy climbed to at least 250 on Aug. 24 and could rise further with rescue teams working for a second day to try to find survivors under the rubble of flattened towns, Reuters reported.

08:38 (GMT+4) At least 247 people died in Italy as a result of earthquake, RIA Novosti reported.

01:50 (GMT+4) Italy's civil protection agency says death toll in earthquake rises to 159, Reuters reported.

21:29 (GMT+4) Italian Premier Matteo Renzi says the death toll from the quake that hit central Italy has risen to 120, AP reported.

20:33 (GMT+4) At least 84 people were killed in a powerful 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit central Italy, and the death toll is expected to rise, local media report. Several cities and towns have been severely damaged or reduced to rubble, officials said.

17:15 (GMT+4) At least 63 people died after a strong earthquake struck central Italy, causing widespread devastation in local towns, ANSA agency reported.

13:55 (GMT+4) At least 37 people died in Italy as a result of earthquake, Reuters reported.

12:02 (GMT+4) At least 100 people are considered missing in the Italian town of Pescara del Tronto after the recent earthquake, RaiNews24 television reported.

11:39 (GMT+4) According to the latest information, at least 14 people died in Italy as a result of a powerful earthquake in the central part of the country on Aug. 23 night, the country’s media reported Aug. 24.

A strong earthquake struck central Italy in the early hours of Wednesday, causing buildings to collapse "with reports of victims" and sending panicked residents fleeing into the streets of numerous towns and cities, Reuters reported.

The U.S. Geological Survey said it was a 6.2 magnitude quake that hit near the town of Norcia, in the region of Umbria, at 3.36 a.m. (0136 GMT).

The mayor of the small town of Amatrice reported extensive damage. "Half the town is gone," Sergio Pirozzi told RAI state television. "There are people under the rubble... There's been a landslide and a bridge might collapse."

Italy's civil protection agency said the earthquake was "severe". Fire Department spokesman Luca Cari said: "There have been reports of victims” in the quake zone, but he did not have any precise details.

The worst hit towns were believed to be Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto, Cari told Reuters, adding that helicopters would be sent up at first light to assess the damage.

"It was so strong. It seemed the bed was walking across the room by itself with us on it," Lina Mercantini of Ceselli, Umbria, told Reuters.

Olga Urbani, in the nearby town of Scheggino, said: "Dear God it was awful. The walls creaked and all the books fell off the shelves."

Residents of Rome, some 170 km (105 miles) from the registered epicenter, were woken by the quake, which rattled furniture and swayed lights in most of central Italy.

A 5.5 magnitude aftershock hit the same region an hour after the initial quake.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's spokesman said on Twitter that the government was in touch with the country's civil protection agency and following the situation closely.

The last major earthquake to hit Italy struck the central city of L'Aquila in 2009, killing more than 300 people.

A refuge on the Gran Sasso mountain, a popular area for hikers and climbers, said on its Facebook page that a large piece of rock had collapsed in Wednesday's quake.

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