State of emergency declared after earthquake in Italy leaves 250 dead

Italy’s prime minister has declared a state of emergency in the area affected by the earthquake which killed at least 250. He has authorised an initial €50m in crisis funding to start the rebuilding process and offered to cancel taxes for those affected. He also called for a national collective effort - dubbed Italian Homes - to build dwellings for the future that will be safe in the event of other quakes. It came as a strong 4.7-magnitude aftershock struck near the worst-hit town of Amatrice on Friday morning.

Just as the pain we feel today is strong, so, too, is the pride that belongs to a nation that is able to react in this way to a state of emergency

Prime minister Matteo Renzi

The 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit on Wednesday and devastated parts of Lazio, Umbria and Le Marche. The fact that the devastation comes just seven years after more than 300 died in the nearby town of L'Aquila has prompted concerns not enough is being done to protect people’s property and lives. Mr Renzi said: “We must think beyond the state of emergency, that there is a need for a bigger plan, and we will do that together.” Meanwhile, 5,000 rescue workers continue to hunt for survivors amid the rubble, although they fear there is little hope of finding anyone still alive.

The chances of finding people alive in these conditions, in this type of setting, well, it’s challenging

Rescue workers’ spokesman Lorenzo Botti