Magnitude 6.2 Earthquake Rattles Rome, Killing 38

A 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked a swath of central Italy early Wednesday, burying residents under rubble as they slept and killing at least 38 people.

The temblor hit at 3:36 a.m. local time near Norcia, 50 miles southeast of Perugia, and was felt more than 100 miles away in Rome. Several large aftershocks followed.

As dawn broke, stunned locals picked through ruins in the worst-affected towns of Amatrice and Accumoli. Italy’s defense ministry mobilized the army to help in the search for survivors.

The center of Amatrice was devastated, with entire palazzos razed to the ground. Aerial images from the fire department showed whole streets flattened.

At least 38 people have been confirmed dead — including 17 in Amatrice alone, a spokeswoman for Italy’s civil protection agency told NBC News. Francesca Maffini said at least 11 others were killed in Accumoli and at least 10 in the town of Arquata.

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