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Italy earthquake: British nationals affected as death toll rises

Rescuers mark a building with paint following Wednesday's earthquake in Pescara Del Tronto, Italy. Picture by Gregorio Borgia, Associated Press
David Hughes

SEVERAL British citizens have been affected by the devastating earthquake in Italy, the Foreign Office said as the death toll continues to rise.

Around 250 people have been confirmed dead in the quake in central Italy which levelled three small towns.

Italy's civil protection agency said at least 365 people were injured. Most of the dead - 184 - were in the town of Amatrice. A Spaniard and five Romanians were among the dead, according to their governments. No Irish people are believed to have been killed or injured.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said extra staff had been sent to the region to help provide support to British people affected by the "terrible" quake.

The British Government has offered "any assistance that we can" to the Italian authorities, Mr Johnson said.

He said: "My deepest sympathies are with the Italian people and everyone affected by the terrible earthquake that struck central Italy.

"The British Government has offered any assistance that we can to help with the recovery effort and I have spoken with Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni to express my condolences personally.

"As the scale of the disaster has become clearer we now know that a number of British nationals have been affected.

"British Embassy staff are in the region providing consular support, and we have deployed additional staff to support this effort."

The Foreign Office would not give any information on whether Britons had been injured or killed in the quake.

Aftershocks have been felt in central Italy as rescue workers continued efforts to find survivors.

Meanwhile, an Irishman whose family was caught up in the devastating earthquake that hit Italy earlier this week has spoken of his terror.

Michael Burns (41) who runs the Finnegan pub in Rome, said relatives had to flee their home in Amelia, about 80 miles form the epicentre, when the earthquake struck earlier this week.

The death toll has so far reached around 250 as the search for survivors continues.

They had to get out of the house because it was shaking so bad. Most of the neighbours did the same," said Mr Burns.

"They waited outside for 45 minutes wrapped in blankets before they felt it was safe to go back in again.

"I got a call from my family in the morning just after the quake hit to let me know what happened.

"Later in the day, they had to get out again when the aftershocks came.

“It was very scary for the kids, but thankfully no one was hurt."

Mr Burns said the area hit hardest by the quake was not popular with Irish holidaymakers.

"It's well off the tourism track and I'd be very surprised to learn there were any people from Ireland living in the area," he told the Irish Independent.

Irish citizens with concerns about the quake are asked to call 00353 1 408 2527 (international) or 01 408 2527 from within the Republic.

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