ROME, August 24. /TASS/. The death toll in the devastating earthquake that hit central Italy Wednesday has risen to 73, a spokeswoman for the country’s Civil Defense Department said.
"We are forced to report that the element’s death count has reached 73. We note as usual that the data are not final," she said.
Earlier the Russian embassy told TASS it did not have data on Russians killed or injured as a result of the quake.
The 6.0-magnitude quake was followed by multiple aftershocks in the early hours of Wednesday devastating a number of mountainous towns and villages, including Amatrice, Pescara del Tronto and Accumoli where thousands were left homeless.
The earthquake’s epicenter was just four kilometers below the surface of the earth.
The Italian Defense Ministry has sent military units to the quake-stricken areas but the rescue operation is hampered by these regions’ remoteness and difficult terrain.
According to forecasts by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), subsequent economic damage could be significant and the death toll could rise to 1,000.
Many countries, including Russia, have offered assistance in efforts to address the consequences of the earthquake, but Italy has notified the European Commission that it does not need international aid yet.