The death toll from a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake that shook central Italy Wednesday morning has now risen to 252 people, CNN reported.
Mountain villages were all but decimated and buried under rubble, with the reported death count rising almost hourly.
"The town is no more," Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of the town of Amatrice, told CNN affiliate Rai. "Help us."
Though the worst of the quake was felt in rural central Italy — in towns like Amatrice, Arquata del Tronto, Cascia, Norcia and Maltignano — people experienced aftershocks over 100 miles away in Rome.
However, even as Italy's dead are pulled from beneath fallen buildings, towns are reporting rescues, like a 10-year-old girl saved in Pescara del Tronto after hours trapped beneath rubble.
"Right now we feel terrible pain," Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi told CNN after touring some of the affected areas. "Italy is a family that has been hit and struck, but we are not going to be stopped."