Ninety-two people confirmed dead, 1,500 injured and over 70,000 displaced: this is the provisional toll as of 17.00 on 6 April of the violent earthquake which devastated large parts of the province of L’Aquila in the Abruzzo region in the early hours of the morning. Several thousand rescuers have been working throughout the day to locate survivors and retrieve the dead in over 15 towns across the area, with technical and logistical support from all over Italy. The civil protection department, which is coordinating the rescue operations, and local authorities are also hard at work to provide shelter for the homeless before nightfall. The national railways have provided trains with sleeping carriages to accommodate some of the displaced while others will be put up in tents, sports’ halls and other facilities across the area. Hospitals throughout the centre-south have been mobilised to treat the injured and the first patients are reported to have already started arriving in Rome.

The earthquake also caused significant damage to Abruzzo’s cultural heritage, with many churches and other buildings in historic centres reduced to rubble. The effects have been registered as far away as Rome, where staff at the baths of Caracalla noticed some damage, Italian news agency ANSA reports.

Aftershocks have been registered in the affected area throughout the day, renewing panic among the already traumatised population.