L'Aquila, Apr 7: The death toll of the earthquake that hit Italy on Monday Apr 6 has risen to 179. The survivors of the quake term the experience '20 seconds of hell'.
The rescue workers used mechanical diggers and their bare hands in search of survivors. According to the officials at least 34 people are still missing in L'Aquila, the medieval mountain town, located 60 miles east of Rome. Around 100 people have been pulled from the rubble but as time passes the hopes of finding any more survivors are fading.
A resident of L'Aquila, Maria Francesco said, "It was the apocalypse, 20 minutes of hell, our house collapsed. It's destroyed, and there's nothing left to recover."
"It is a serious disaster. Now we must rebuild and that will require huge sums of money," said Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who has visited the disaster zone and declared a 'national emergency'.
The quake's intensity measured between 5.8 and 6.3 on the Richter scale, and has reportedly damaged houses, apartment blocks and four historic medieval churches in L'Aquila and surrounding villages.