At least 247 killed in earthquake in central Italy
At least 247 people were killed after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Italy Wednesday, according to Italy’s Civil Protection Department
AMATRICE, Italy — In this ancient town laid waste in seconds, Sister Mariana Lleshi, 35, walked the rubble-strewn streets in a daze. A patch of white gauze was taped to her forehead. Behind her stood the ruins of
her convent — flattened by the 6.2-magnitude earthquake that slammed Italy’s heartland on Wednesday.
Twenty women — mostly nuns, and a few lay residents — went to bed there Tuesday. By late Wednesday, seven were still missing, part of a far larger tragedy unfolding in this Mediterranean nation. As rescuers searched the debris with dogs, a police officer nearby shook his head. “Just look at it,” he said, shrugging at the devastation in lost hope.
The quake struck at 3:36 a.m. as townspeople across central Italy slept. “I remember hearing something, a loud noise, and then hiding under my bed,” Lleshi said. “I was screaming, and I got out and started running when the ceiling started coming down.”
A young man who was staying overnight at the convent found her in the chaos and guided her to safety. “All I could see was destruction around me,” she said. “I had lost all hope to get out of this alive, but God sent me his messenger.”
On Wednesday, many others across a vast swath of quake-prone Italy were not as fortunate. Early Thursday, Italian authorities said at least 247 people died in the quake, a toll that could jump as search crews rake through the rubble in cities, towns and villages across the regions of Lazio, Umbria and the Marches. Hundreds were injured and missing. Thousands were left homeless.