ROME, 24th August, 2016 (WAM) — Residents in central Italy were waking up to scenes of devastation on Wednesday morning after a strong earthquake rocked the heart of the country.

According to the CNN affiliate in Italy, Rai, the number of dead has now risen to 21, with many more missing. The quake struck near the town of Norcia at 3:36 a.m. local time, and aftershocks followed, toppling buildings and blocking roads.

It is thought that a family of four were also trapped under rubble and showing no signs of life.

WAM/Ahlam/Moran