The Queen has given a personal donation to the search and rescue operation in Italy after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit on Wednesday, leaving at least 267 dead and hundreds injured.
The monarch gave an unspecified amount to the British Red Cross, of which she is a patron, and sent a message of condolence to the President of Italy, Sergio Mattarella, which was shared on the royal family's website and Twitter account. It read: "Prince Philip and I were saddened to hear of the loss of life following the earthquake in central Italy."
The Queen said her "thoughts and prayers" were with the people of Italy
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Italy, especially the family and friends of those affected."
Celebrities have taken to social media to reach out in solidarity with Italy following the disaster, with Ellen DeGeneres tweeting: "We are with you, Italy. #ItalyEarthquake," while Hillary Clinton wrote: "Thinking about the people of both Italy and Myanmar as they respond to today's earthquakes. My heart goes out to the victims’ families. –H."
Our patron the Queen has made a private donation to our Italy Earthquake Appeal. We would like to thank everyone who has donated.
— British Red Cross (@BritishRedCross) 26 August 2016
Rescue teams have been searching for survivors since Wednesday, with a civil protection worker telling Associated Press that they need more equipment to move rubble to find people. They said: "We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams: everything, we need everything."
The earthquake has devastated central Italy
Three Britons were among those killed in the devastating earthquake including 14-year-old Marcos Burnett and married couple Maria and Will Henniker-Gotley, aged 51 and 55. A neighbour to the couple spoke about the tragedy, telling ITV: "It's terrible news, so awful. I knew them all very well.
"They were lovely. They were a lovely family. It's very hard to take in. They were very warm and friendly, extremely good neighbours."