We woke up on August 24th to a text from our daughter, advising that Italy had a large earthquake, were we alright?
An earthquake, measuring 6.2 hit Central Italy on August 24, 2016 a 3:36 am. Its epicenter was Amatrice, a town just southeast of Perugia in an area near the borders of Umbria, Lazio, Abruzzo and the Marche regions. Half the town is now destroyed. We understand that over 60 aftershocks were registered in 4-hours after the earthquake; the strongest measuring 5.5.
It is difficult to be in a country where you don’t understand the language well enough to follow and comprehend what the news casters on television are reporting. A very different situation than being back in Arizona, USA and hearing about California having an earthquake; but at least we could understand what was happening.
This link shows you the current earthquakes happening in Italy. It is mind blowing that they are happening more often than I thought. http://earthquaketrack.com/p/italy/recent. To think that we just visited Modena which is near Medolla, a town where on May 20, 2012 an earthquake registering 6.1 occured. Then 9-days later, in the same exact area, another quake registering 5.8 struck causing 20 deaths and leaving 45,000 people homeless. Italy sits on two major fault lines and is the most active for earthquakes in Europe.
The estimated damage of this latest earthquake will almost inevitably exceed $130 million, and may top $1.3 billion. As of August 27th, the official figures of the Protezione Civile report that the earthquake caused the death of 290 people: 230 in Amatrice, 11 in Accumoli and 49 in Arquata del Tronto. At least 365 wounded had to be treated in hospitals. About 238 people were pulled out alive from the rubble. Approximately 2,100 people found shelter in the emergency camps. Approximately 4,400 people were involved in the search and rescue operations, including 70 teams with rescue dogs.
Photo credit: www.abc.net.au
In addition to the loss of human life, widespread destruction of cultural heritage is also being reported. In Amatrice, the facade and rose window of the Church of Sant’Agostino were destroyed, and the museum dedicated to the painter, Nicola Filotesio who was a student and companion of Raphael, also collapsed. The quake also created cracks in the Baths of Caracalla in Rome. The earthquake was so broad that authorities made structural tests on the Colosseum as well but found out it was not damaged.
It is heartbreaking to see the news everyday and know these people are not that far away; struggling, greiving, trying to clear away the rubble and rebuild. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.