Rome - The mayor of the Umbrian town of Amatrice, hit hard by the 6.1 magnitude quake, says residents are buried under the debris of collapsed buildings and that "the town isn't here anymore."
Sergio Pirozzi told state-run RAI radio and Sky TG24 that he needs heavy equipment to clear rubble-clogged streets to get to the injured.
Asked if there were any dead he said: "Look there are houses that aren't here anymore. I hope we get some help."
The quake struck central Italy, near Rieti, shortly after 03:30 and was followed by several aftershocks.