At least 247 people were killed after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck central Italy Wednesday, according to Italy’s Civil Protection Department.
The powerful earthquake hit 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) southeast of Norcia at 3:36 a.m. (9:36 p.m. Tuesday ET).
Italy’s Civil Protection agency said of the people killed in the quake, at least 53 of them were in the town of Amatrice, and at least 100 people were injured. Other fatalities were reported in the nearby towns of Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto.
More than 1,000 people have been displaced by the quake, and the Civil Protection agency said no residents were allowed to sleep in the devastated town of Amatrice Wednesday night.
A series of strong aftershocks have been felt since the initial quake, including a 4.7-magnitude tremor that struck a few miles east of Norcia early Thursday morning local time, according to the United States Geological Survey.
The death toll from the quake was expected to rise as rescue teams are continuing to work through the rubble, with regular aftershocks posing a continuing threat.
“Right now we feel terrible pain,” Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said after touring some of the affected areas. “Italy is a family that has been hit and struck, but we are not going to be stopped.”
Addressing the nation Wednesday, Renzi vowed to spare no effort in the critical window following the quake when lives could still be saved.
“In difficult times, Italy knows what to do,” he said.