The earthquake hit the central Italy at around 3.30am local time. It rocked several the buildings and buried many people in their sleep.
The epicenter of the earthquake was about 105 miles northeast of Rome in Norcia in Umria.
According to Immacolata Postiglione, the head of the unit’s emergency department, “There are still so many people under masonry, so many missing,”
Many people had died between the towns of Accumoli and Amatrice, and nearby Arquata area, Postiglione said.
“Three-quarters of the town is not there anymore,” Amatrice mayor Sergio Pirozzi told state broadcaster RAI. “The aim now is to save as many lives as possible. There are voices under the rubble, we have to save the people there.”
According to Italy’s earthquake institute INGV, 60 aftershocks were reported in the four hours following the initial quake, the strongest measuring 5.5.
Italy is one of the most seismically active countries in Europe as it sits on two fault lines.
Meanwhile, to show a sign of solidarity, the Italian Football Federation says that national teams will wear black armbands “in a sign of solidarity during a time of such great pain for the entire country.”
According to the federation minute of silence will be observed before all professional football matches in Italy this week to mourn the victims of the earthquake.