|Amatrice (pictured) was among the towns hardest-hit by the earthquake. // Photo by clodio/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images|
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake has struck central Italy, heavily damaging the popular tourist towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto, the BBC reports. Thus far at least 38 people have died with another 150 missing. The quake, which at 10km deep was classified as shallow, is similar in intensity to the Aquila earthquake of 2009 that killed 309 people.
According to NPR, the damaged towns are known for architecture dating back to the 16th century, with populations that can swell from around 700 to as high as 2,500 during the peak tourist season.
"One of the town worst-hit is Amatrice," Associated Press reporter Nicole Winfield told NPR. "The mayor says half the town 'doesn't exist' anymore, and that all roads to and from have been cut off."
According to the BBC, Amatrice’s 13th century bell tower is one of the few historic buildings that remains standing.
The Daily Telegraph reports that flights to Rome and to Perugia, the region’s capital, seem to be unaffected. Italian authorities have warned that there is a risk of aftershocks in the area.