At Least 39 Killed by Earthquakes in Central Italy

A man cries into his hands in Amatrice

In April 2009, a 6.3-magnitude natural disaster hit central Italy, killing 295. But this weekend's party is now cancelled, and, in truth, the spaghetti festival may never be held again.

"The town is gone", said the mayor. "Wiped off the map".

The first quake was followed by at least 11 tremors in what the seismological center described as a "high aftershock rate".

The death toll was expected to rise.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is there, where people are digging through the rubble. "Now I move away a little bit and you do pee please".

Agostino Severo, a Rome resident visiting Illica, said workers eventually arrived after an hour or so. Hours later they pulled out a sheet and covered the remains of the person they'd tried to save.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Italy as they deal with this situation", Earnest said. Again, the search ended in vain.

The damage was made more severe because the epicenter was at a relatively shallow 4 km below the surface of the earth.

One witness compared the scene to Dante's Inferno Alighieri.

Serra, who lives on the fourth floor of a Renaissance-era building in the historical center of Rome, said he felt a couple of smaller quakes afterward. And nothing was more local at the time than the amatriciana - a dish so popular in Roman taverns that the word "amatriciano" had become synonymous with "tavern owner".

Another woman, sitting in front of her destroyed home with a blanket over her shoulders, said she didn't know what had become of her loved ones.

"I hope they don't forget us", he told Sky TG24.

Confirmed victims in Amatrice and the surrounding hilltop towns reportedly included a baby girl who was just nine-months-old, an 18-month-old toddler and at least two other young children in the town of Accumoli. Many of those killed or missing were visitors."It's all young people here, it's holiday season, the town festival was to have been held the day after tomorrow so lots of people came for that", said Amatrice resident Giancarlo, sitting in the road wearing just his underwear."It's awful, I'm 65-years-old and I have never experienced anything like this, small tremors, yes, but nothing this big".

European Union partners France and Germany say they are ready to help. "I wasn't here, as soon as the quake happened, I rushed here".

The devastation harked back to the 2009 quake that killed more than 300 people in and around L'Aquila, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) south of the latest quake. The problem is not science, the problem is organization, and government, and irresponsibility. Wide cracks had appeared like open wounds on the buildings that were still standing.

"It felt like someone had put a bulldozer over the house and was trying to knock it down". Obviously that didn't work-at all.

The catechesis is a prepared oral religious instructions delivered by the Pope every Wednesday to the Catholic faithful at the St. Peters' Square.

"The whole ceiling fell but did not hit me", resident Maria Gianni told the Associated Press.

"Amatrice is mostly famous for its gastronomic and culinary tradition, which has found its highest point of expression in the recipe for Spaghetti all'Amatriciana", says the website, which also cautions readers against thinking the dish was invented in Rome.

"I could feel the ground shake and my three dogs started to go a little insane, running around and barking", Maurizio Serra, 56, told USA TODAY.



Other news