Rescuers and firemen inspect the rubble of buildings in Amatrice on Aug. 24, 2016 after a powerful earthquake rocked central Italy. AFP / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE
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A powerful earthquake flattened mountain towns in central Italy on Wednesday, killing at least 120 people, burying some alive in their sleep under mounds of rubble, as exhausted volunteers and firefighters raced to free those still trapped.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. In the nearby village of Accumoli a family of four, including two boys aged 8 months and 9 years, were buried when their house imploded.Aerial photographs showed whole areas of Amatrice, last year voted one of Italy's most beautiful historic towns, flattened by the 6.2 magnitude quake.Stefano Petrucci, mayor of nearby Accumoli, said some 2,500 people were left homeless in the local community, made up of 17 hamlets.All three regions are dotted with centuries-old buildings susceptible to earthquakesINGV reported 150 aftershocks in the 12 hours following the initial quake, the strongest measuring 5.5 .
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