Hundreds of people have lost their lives and several have been injured in the massive earthquake that struck Italy central Italy last Wednesday morning (August 24).

The U.S. Geological Survey said a 6.2 magnitude quake hit near the town of Norcia, in the region of Umbria. Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta and Arquata del Tronto were among the worst hit towns, an official report said.

The towns are popular tourist destinations and were filled with tourists when the earthquake struck.

Rescue teams, helicopters, fire brigades and paramedics have been deployed to the spot almost immediately. Roughly 5,000 workers are digging up survivors from the rubble of the dilapidated houses.

The death toll has reached 250, according to recent reports.

While the rescue operations were on, a 5.5 magnitude aftershock hit the same region an hour after the initial quake. Another aftershock of magnitude 4.3 struck on Thursday afternoon.

Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's spokesman posted on Twitter that the government was closely in touch with the civil protection agency of the country and was following the situation carefully.

The Italian Red Cross workers have urged locals to disable their wi-fi passwords to help rescue efforts. Residents' home networks, according to the relief workers, can assist with communications during the hunt for survivors trapped inside the rubble.

Other than the immediate loss of life, a huge chunk of the history of human civilization has been instantly wiped out. The towns, which were of immense historical significance, have been completely flattened and cannot be rebuilt.

Italy sits on two fault lines of the tectonic plates and is quite vulnerable to earthquakes. Rescue workers are hoping to find more survivors but the vastness of the impact is making it difficult for them to reach the victims on time.