On January 18th 2017, a 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck the central regions of Italy at 10:25 local time (9:25 GMT) at depth of 9 kilometres, the epicentre was 3 kilometres far from Montereale, 4 kilometres from Capitignano, 9 kilometres from Campotosto and Amatrice.
Around one hour after the earthquake, a second and a third one followed with a magnitude of 5 in the same area. A fourth quake of 5.1 magnitude hit the same regions in the early afternoon.
Following the series of earthquakes, an avalanche hit a hotel situated in a popular ski resort in the central Abruzzo region. Many people have been reported missing. Blizzards and strong winds have slowed the rescue efforts and continue to make operations difficult.
The Italian Red Cross activated its Mobile Operation Centre and is coordinating and working closely with the Italian Civil Protection to provide support to the affected population and assess damage. There are 250 Red Cross volunteers and operators involved in the response as well as 93 vehicles. A cooking unit has been made available to provide 1,000 meals per day to those affected.
Thousands of people have been left without electricity. Several villages located close to the epicentre of the earthquake are extremely difficult to access due to high snow levels.
There are light damages in the structure of the S. Salvatore Hospital and the emergency procedures have been activated. No mass evacuation of the hospital is needed at the moment. Reception centres are being organized by the Red Cross and the Italian Civil Protection.
In some of the affected areas, people have been evacuated from a health residence centre and others transported to hospital suffering from hypothermia after being trapped in a collapsed building. Schools and shopping centres have been evacuated too. In Arquata del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno), 15 farmers have been rescued, all of them are now safe.