AS IT HAPPENED: Firefighters battle to pull people from Italy earthquake rubble

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AS IT HAPPENED: Firefighters battle to pull people from Italy earthquake rubble
Photo: Mauro Pagnano/AFP

Updates from Italy where a magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck the island of Ischia, taking at least two lives, on the night of Monday August 21st.


What we know so far:

  • A Magnitude 4.0 earthquake struck the island of Ischia, 30 kilometres from the city of Naples
  • Two people have been confirmed dead so far 
  • At least 36 people injured, according to reports in Repubblica
  • Emergency services still working to save people from collapsed houses
  • Casamicciola, the small town near the epicentre, has experienced earthquakes before
  • According to Italy's national institute for geophysics and vulcanology (INGV), the 4.0 magnitude earthquake occurred at 20:57 CET at a depth of 5 kilometres below sea level

READ ALSO: Ischia earthquake should not have been deadly, say country's top geologists

04.01 pm - Entire family finally rescued from rubble

Fire emergency service confirmed they had rescued Ciro, the third of three siblings trapped under rubble in Ischia, completing the rescue of the entire family, reports Repubblica. The father and pregnant mother had been rescued in the morning; Pasquale, the 7-month-old baby soon after. Then Mattias and finally Ciro, to cheers from the watching crowd. 

The moment Mattias, the eldest of the brothers, was rescued by firefighters in Ischia. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco. 

02.35 pm - Fire services close to rescuing last of three siblings still trapped

The Italian fire department says the third of three young brothers who remained trapped under rabble for hours throughout the night an this morning is "definitely alive". The youngest, a baby, and Mattias, 11, have already been rescued. Fire services have been working round the clock to free 7-year-old Ciro. 

02.15 pm - Gentiloni signs decree to help protect Ischia

Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni has signed a degree granting the national civic protection agency extra powers to defend Ischia's "primary goods" and economic needs. Gentiloni was presiding over an emergency meeting of the national civil protection agency. 

The decree opens up the potential for the head of the department to call on "extraordinary organs" of state – special army and civil units – should it be deemed necessary. 

"We are all at the side of agencies providing emergency services in Ischia," tweeted PM Gentiloni. 

11.42 am - At least 2,600 people displaced

At least 2,600 people have been displaced, according to Angelo Borelli, head of the national department for civil protection – which is coordinating all emergency services efforts –  cited in Repubblica. 

11.34 am - Support from European politicians

Many people have expressed solidarity with the Italian emergency services – the fire department were voted the world's best this year – including the president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani. 

Former Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, added his condolences. 

11.12 am - 5-year-old Mattias is rescued from the rubble

The moment the boy was rescued. Firemen are still digging to rescue Mattias' 3-year-old brother Ciro, who they are in contact with. 

10.49 am - One brother saved

One of the two trapped siblings, Mattias, has now been saved, while firemen are currently working to extract Ciro, the youngest, according to tweets from the fire department. 

10.43 am - Aerial view of destruction

A video by Naples police shows the extent of some of the damage on Ischia. 

10.02 am - Young siblings trapped under rubble are alive

Firemen have established contact with two children, aged 7 and 11, who have been trapped under the rubble of a building for 10 hours, according to the latest report in Ansa.

The siblings' younger baby brother was already extracted alive from the rubble by firemen earlier this morning. "We have reached the larger child, complicated extraction operation. We are talking to the younger boy," reads a tweet from Italy's fire services at 10.02am CET. 

9.27am - Search for missing continues

Emergency services continue to search through the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors, especially in the municipalities of Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno, according to a statement this morning by the Italian department of civil protection. 

A child has been recovered from the debris of a collapsed building in the village of La Rita, Casamicciola. 

The body of one woman was recovered from under the collapsed church of Santa Maria del Suffragio. Repubblica claims a second body of a woman has been found under the rubble of a collapsed residential building, although this has not been confirmed by authorities. 

A newborn baby was also "miraculously" found alive under the rubble of a collapsed building in Casamicciola by firemen. 

8.30am - Summary of main events so far

Ten municipalities with a combined population of more than 600,000 people are within a 20 kilometres radius of the earthquake's epicentre.

The nearby Rizzoli Hospital was evacuated as a precaution, according to Rai News

More than 1,000 people were evacuated last night from Ischia by the coast guard, with the support of the Italian Red Cross. 

Local private ferry companies are working alongside all emergency services to help evacuate the injured to the mainland, according to a statement by the civil protection department. 

Here is a map, published Italy's national office of statistics ISTAT, breaking down the seismic threat in each Italian municipality. 





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