Several people are feared dead in central Italy after multiple catastrophic events, including four earthquakes above magnitude 5 and an avalanche near a popular ski resort.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) January 19, 2017
President of Italiy’s Marche region, Luca Ceriscioli, said the quakes and avalanches have caused landslides and cut power to thousands of families. Some villages have been left isolated as a result, the BBC reported.
“Today’s tremors and the snow of the last days add huge problems, especially on the roads, to the dramatic situation caused by the [August] earthquake,” Ceriscioli said.
At least nine aftershocks had been reported since the initial quake, including one as strong as 5.7, and all at a shallow 10 kilometers deep or less, according to the United States Geological Survey,
Marche was one of the regions hit hardest by the devastating earthquake that hit Italy on Aug. 24.
First responders are focusing on “taking people to safe and warm places,” Ceriscioli said.
At a spa hotel in the central Abruzzo region, up to 30 people are feared dead after an avalanche believed to have been triggered by the earthquake struck, according to Sky News.
Heavy snowfall buried the four-story Hotel Rigoplano. The top floor was no longer visible above a thick blanket of snow on the Gran Sasso mountain. Video shows first responders entering the structure, where bodies have been found.
Tremors from the quakes could be felt as far as Rome, where the subway was shut down as a result, CNN reported. Schools were shut down in Rome as well.
Rescue workers have dug out a survivor of the avalanche in Italy pic.twitter.com/CKTEnVWgBc
— The Telegraph (@Telegraph) January 19, 2017
Disaster authorities in the capital said they have been inundated with hundreds of distress calls.
From Germany, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni called said the natural disasters had caused a “difficult day for our country.
— Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) January 18, 2017
Italy’s Fire Department said that around 850 firefighters were deployed to help deal with the aftermath.