Rescue workers are searching for survivors among the rubble of towns and villages in central Italy in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake believed to have claimed at least 120 lives.
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said “there are at least 120 lives cut short at this time,” following the earthquake, according to national news agency ANSA.
In the Italian village of Saletta, a tiny settlement of about 20 people, residents used their bare hands to ferret through the rubble of a two-story home in a desperate search for neighbors.
They called out names as they dug through the remains of a bedroom. Rescue dogs sniffed and clawed through the debris, with no signs of life.
The scene played out over and over after a strong, shallow earthquake devastated towns in central Italy early Wednesday, August 24, 2016 killing at least 120 people and placing rescuers in a desperate race against time to try to pull survivors from the rubble.
CNN’s Barbie Nadeau and her crew escaped injury when a home collapsed behind her in Saletta as she did a Facebook Live session.
With heavy lifting equipment yet to reach the isolated village, people used tractors, farm equipment and simple hand tools to break through what was left of old stone villas.
Many settlements are only accessible by small roads, posing a challenge for authorities to move in heavy machinery to the disaster sites.
On a roadside, stunned residents in dust-covered pajamas sought comfort after every aftershock.
Italy’s Civil Protection agency said of the people killed in the 6.2 magnitude quake, at least 53 of them were in the town of Amatrice, and at least 100 people were injured. Other fatalities were reported in the nearby towns of Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto.
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