Search and rescue teams and sniffer dogs from the Italian Red Cross are on the ground in central Italy following a 6.2 magnitude earthquake in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto village are the among the worst hit by the quake which struck at 3.30am.
Dozens of people have been killed and many more are missing.
Italian Red Cross spokesman Tommaso Della Longa said: “The pictures that we have got from our colleagues in Amatrice are telling us a terrible story of a town almost completely destroyed.
"Our priority right now is finding survivors.”
Twenty ambulances have also been sent to the area by the Red Cross while local volunteers are at the scene and providing psychological support for survivors.
Mobile kitchens are also being set up in the area for people who have been forced to leave their homes. A 24-hour emergency control centre has been activated in Rome, while the Red Cross is also working from a mobile operations centre in the quake zone.
The Italian Red Cross is also providing earthquake information and advice for people in the area as aftershocks continue to rock the region.
Looking for missing family members?
For those concerned about loved ones in Italy: The best way to locate U.S. citizens living or traveling overseas is to contact the U.S. Department of State, Office of Overseas Citizens Services, at 1-888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444. Those searching for a non-US citizen family members can contact the American Red Cross’s Restoring Family Links unit at through redcross.org/reconnectingfamilies
For media inquiries, please contact:
Italian Red Cross
Tommaso Della Longa,
Mob: + 39 340 2413114