A powerful earthquake struck central Italy Wednesday morning, leaving more than 100 people dead, according to the latest reports. 

The magnitude 6.2 earthquake hit the region in the early hours of Wednesday morning. The villages of Accumoli, Pescara del Tronto and the town of Amatrice were amongst the worst hit. 

"The town isn't here anymore," said Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of the hardest-hit town, Amatrice, told the AP. "I believe the [death] toll will rise."

Tremors were also felt 100 miles away in Rome, and stretched even further still to Bologna in the North, and Naples in the South. 

Rescue missions are underway to save those trapped beneath the rubble. An official from Accumoli has said that at least 2,000 people have lost their homes. 

At least 240 people have been reported dead, and more than 300 injured. 

This aerial photo shows the scale of the destruction:

Pope Francis has cancelled a speech scheduled for today in order to pray for the victims, and President of the European Commission Jean Claude-Juncker has written to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi to offer solidarity and assistance. 

Resting on one of the most "seismically active" regions in Europe, Italy is prone to earthquakes, particularly along the Apennine mountain range. The country has suffered a series of damaging earthquakes in recent years — in 2009, a 6.3 magnitude earthquake left 295 people dead and 55,000 homeless after it struck the region. 

As day broke, photos of the devestation surfaced on Twitter.

Figures in this piece were updated at 2:00 p.m. BST.


Defend the Planet

Major Earthquake Strikes Central Italy, Leaving Hundreds Dead

By Yosola Olorunshola