At least 16 people are killed and thousands of buildings damaged in quake north of Rome

An earthquake in central Italy has killed at least 16 people and damaged thousands of buildings north of Rome.

The quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck the medieval town of L’Aquila, 95km north-east of the capital in the early hours of Monday morning.

Four children are thought to be among the dead and officials have warned the death toll is likely to rise as rescue parties search through the rubble.

The town’s cathedral was damaged and a church tower and other historic buildings collapsed, according to reports. It is thought thousands have been made homeless.