“Half the town no longer exists,” Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice, Italy said, according to The New York Times.
An early morning series of earthquakes has devastated his town, along with much of central Italy. The first quake hit at 3:36 a.m. in Norcia, a southeast town in the Umbria region. Then, it is estimated that 200 aftershocks hit in the hours after. Residents in Rome, which is over 100 miles away from the first quake, were awakened by the tremors as well. It is believed, according to USA Today, that at least 120 people have died as a result of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake.
Rescue workers have since been deployed to the region to search through the rubble for those who are still missing, as many more have yet to be accounted for in the aftermath of the quake.
The towns of Amatrice and Accumoli were hit the worst, with a majority of deaths coming from there. Many of the beautiful, historical buildings in Amatrice were said to have been destroyed in the quakes, and the search parties for those still missing grow dimmer by the second.
Frederik Pleitgen, a reporter for CNN on the scene in Italy, said that authorities believe the death toll could rise significantly as they search the rubble of the now destroyed historical buildings.
"I have an appeal to make: we have access roads to the town cut off and people under the rubble, help us," Mayor Pirozzi said. Italy is also asking for blood donations in the wake of the quakes, and asking for those able to assist rescue workers as well.