Phones ringing off the hook. Family pets meowing and barking amidst the rubble. The hands of children poking out in the hope someone will be able to rescue them.
These are the scenes that many have described following the 6.2 magnitude earthquake that hit the Umbria region in Italy on Wednesday.
“10 seconds were enough to destroy everything,” one man wrote on Twitter following the devastating event that has already claimed 120 lives.
Hitting the ancient region in the early hours of the morning while residents and holiday-makers slept peacefully, the earthquake – which was felt as far away as Rome – has destroyed countless homes and left one of the country’s most-loved regions in ruin.
The town of Amatrice being hit the hardest, with the mayor telling the media through tears, “Amatrice is no more.”
Photograher Emiliano Grilloti told the Mail Online that following the earthquake, he had seen 15 people digging among the rubble in a bid to save a family trapped underneath.
“I can hear one of the children screaming,” Grilloti said.
Another man told AFP his sister and her husband trapped under the rubble.
“There’s no sound from them,” he said, continuing, “we only heard their cats. I wasn’t here, but as soon as the quake happened I rushed here. They managed to pull my sister’s children out, they’re in hospital now,” he said.
Deputy editor of The Times, Emma Tucker, was holidaying in the nearby area of L3 Marche, writing on Twitter, “Just had to evacuate house in Le Marche, Italy after what felt like massive earthquake. Plaster everywhere. Power down.”
Almost an hour later, she continued, “We eventually went back to bed only for an aftershock to send us all back out into the garden. Pretty terrifying.”
Tributes have begun pouring in on Twitter, with people from around the world adopting the hashtags #prayforItaly and #terremoto, which means earthquake in Italian.
But while the messages of kindness and hope flood in, the devastation in Umbria has only just begun.