|Amatrice (pictured) was among the towns hardest-hit by the earthquake. // Photo by clodio/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images|
Recovery efforts are underway following a massive earthquake in central Italy that damaged several popular tourist towns, including Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.
The BBC is reporting that small, wooden homes are being built for those displaced by the quake. An estimated 290 people died from last week's earthquake.
The Hotel Roma in Amatrice, which was one of the hardest-hit towns, had as many as 70 tourists staying there when the earthquake struck, the BBC said. Rescuers have so far pulled five bodies from the rubble, and more are feared to be trapped inside.
According to BT.com, the Italian government has released new advice for travelers in the area, telling tourists in the affected area to follow the advice of local authorities. Civil Protection has set up a hotline at 800-840-840 for information.
As the recovery effort begins, many thoughts have turned to what can be learned from the tragedy. The New York Times has an opinion piece noting that Italy, which has been hit by 35 major earthquakes and 86 minor ones since its unification in 1861, is hard-pressed to maintain the safety of its historic architecture during a seismic event.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Italy on this tragic day,” said American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) President and CEO Zane Kerby in a written release. “We hope and pray that the families who have lost loved ones are comforted and that Italy will recover from this terrible natural disaster. ASTA stands ready to assist our 44 ASTA members who are based in Italy any way we can, and have also activated our network of Volunteer Responders who are ready provide logistical support for anyone affected by the earthquake.”
ASTA’s Volunteer Response Team consists of agents who are willing to immediately assist consumers with travel plans and emergency logistical support if they are affected by a crisis.