It has been a tragic day for Italy, where after last night's M6.2 earthquake, at least 84 people are now confirmed dead, and thousands have been left homeless.
As we reported earlier, the quake struck in the early hours of the morning when most residents were asleep, razing homes and buckling roads in a cluster of communities some 140 km (85 miles) east of Rome. It was powerful enough to be felt in Bologna to the north and Naples to the south, each more than 220 km from the epicenter. A family of four, including two boys aged 8 months and 9 years, were buried when their house in Accumoli imploded.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he would visit the disaster area later in the day: "No one will be left alone, no family, no community, no neighborhood. We must get down to work .. to restore hope to this area which has been so badly hit," he said in a brief televised address.
A spokeswoman for the civil protection department, Immacolata Postiglione, said the dead were in Amatrice, Accumoli and other villages including Pescara del Tronto and Arquata del Tronto.
As rescue workers carried away the body of the infant, carefully covered by a small blanket, the children's grandmother blamed God: "He took them all at once," she wailed, Reuters reports.
The army was mobilized to help with special heavy equipment and the treasury has already released 235 million euros of emergency funds. At the Vatican, Pope Francis canceled part of his general audience to pray for the victims.
Rescue workers used helicopters to pluck trapped survivors to safety in the more isolated villages, which had been cut off by landslides and rubble.
"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 terrible, I'm 65-years-old and I have never experienced anything like this, small tremors, yes, but nothing this big. This is a catastrophe," he said
Stefano Petrucci, mayor of nearby Accumoli, said some 2,500 people were left homeless in the local community, made up of 17 hamlets.
Aerial photographs showed whole areas of Amatrice, voted last year as one of Italy's most beautiful historic towns, flattened by the 6.2 magnitude quake. Many of those killed or missing were visitors.
Moments ago Reuters also released the following dramatic drone video showing the full extent of the devastation.