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In pics: Earthquake in Italy kills 247, shatters town

A strong earthquake measuring 6.2 on the richter scale, rocked the mountainous stretch of central Italy early Wednesday, killing at least 247 people and trapping scores under debris.

More than 1,000 have been displaced. Many settlements are only accessible by small roads, posing a challenge for authorities moving in heavy machinery to disaster sites.

The towns at the epicenter of the quake, Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto, are scenes of devastation.

Facebook activated its safety check features for the region, which allows users to mark themselves as safe and quickly alert friends and family after a crisis or a natural disaster.

Italy is certainly no stranger to such deadly earthquakes. In April 2009, a magnitude of 6.3 earthquake hit the Aquila region, killing 295, while in May 2012, a pair of earthquakes killed dozens of people in the northern part of Italy.

The death toll is expected to rise as rescue teams continues to work through the rubble with regular aftershocks in different towns of Italy.

Text by Sehar Qazi