According to Italy’s Civil Protection Department, at least 247 people have lost their lives since a magnitude-6.2 earthquake rocked central Italy on August 25.
Although tremors were felt as far away as Rome, the small town of Amatrice, which is about 87 miles from the capital city, was among the hardest hit. The devastation has proven to be so brutal, in fact, that Mayor Sergio Pirozzi said the town simply “isn’t here anymore.”
When the sun came up that day, officials realized that the situation was far worse than they’d anticipated.
Initial reports stated that the screams of trapped residents could be heard ringing through the streets just after the quake struck. Later on, however, rescuers and survivors were met with eerie silence.
“There are so many dead, I cannot make an estimate,” Pirozzi explained to a local news outlet. He is understandably heartbroken over the fact that the death toll is expected to rise as rubble continues to be cleared.
But one incredible story of survival is a testament to human resilience. A firefighter heard the muffled cries of a buried child, so he and his team stopped at nothing to dig the little girl out and carry her to safety.
For more details and live updates, head over to CNN.