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UPDATE: 3:50 p.m. ET 8/24/16
Following Wednesday's devastating 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Italy, ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby issued the following statement:
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Italy on this tragic day. We hope and pray that the families who have lost loved ones are comforted and that Italy will recover from this terrible natural disaster. ASTA stands ready to assist our 44 ASTA members who are based in Italy any way we can, and have also activated our network of Volunteer Responders who are ready provide logistical support for anyone affected by the earthquake."
UPDATE: 2:30 p.m. ET 8/24/16
The number of deaths from a 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Italy Wednesday has climbed to at least 120 people, and there are at least 368 additional victims injured.
With the help of the Italian army, locals searched through the rubble of cities like Amatrice and Accumoli for people trapped under the debris. Heavy equipment and sniffer dogs have been brought in to aid with the search efforts, according to NBCNews.com.
In addition, temporary emergency units have been set up as makeshift hospitals for the injured.
"We came out to the piazza, and it looked like 'Dante's Inferno,'" Rome resident Agostino Severo told The Associated Press. "People crying for help, help."
On Wednesday, at least 38 people were been killed and dozens more are still missing after a 6.2-magnitude earthquake rocked central Italy.
According to NBCNews.com, the earthquake hit near the small town of Norcia at 3:36 a.m. local time and was felt more than 100 miles away in Rome. Two of the cities impacted the most by the earthquake include Amatrice and Accumoli, which reportedly suffered major damage to buildings and roadways.
The 6.2-magnitude earthquake was also followed by several large aftershocks.
Italian infrastructure minister Graziano Del Rio and Fabrizio Curcio said the area is very popular with tourists looking to escape the summer heat of Rome, and that many of the roads and bridges leading to the region have been severely damaged.
In response, the Italian government has mobilized its army to search for survivors and help maintain order in the region. Aerial photographs and witnesses in the area have stated that many palazzos were destroyed and entire blocks were flattened.
"We must continue to work and to dig through the debris in order to save human lives and give hope to all those involved in the area," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said in a statement.
Of the confirmed dead, at least 17 people were killed in Amatrice, at least 11 in Accumoli and at least 10 in Arquata. Schools and other public buildings in the area are now being used as makeshift shelters for the victims. Authorities are now asking for donations of blood, blankets, medicine and water.
The United States Department of State is asking all Americans in the region to let friends and family know they're safe. In addition, Facebook's safety check-in service was activated Wednesday morning.
Italian officials claim the earthquake is similar to the one that hit the city of L'Aquila in 2009, which killed more than 300 people.
Donald Wood is TravelPulse’s senior writer in the breaking news department, bringing nearly 15 years of experience to the desk....
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