An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 on the Richter scale struck central Italy on Wednesday morning, killing at least five people. The quake, which hit near the town of Norcia in the Umbria region, reportedly caused severe damage to civilian property and had buried people under the rubble. At least 73 people died in the earthquake, but authorities expect the figure to rise, The Telegraph reported.

An aftershock with a magnitude of 5.5 struck the region just an hour after the first tremors. Fire Department spokesperson Luca Cari said the worst hit towns were believed to be Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto. The mayor of Amatrice said residents were buried under debris, and the town "isn't here anymore", reported Reuters.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi tweeted that the country’s government was in touch with its civil protection agency, adding that they were monitoring the situation closely. The last such recorded earthquake in Italy took place in 2009, when more than 300 people died.