2016 Central Italy Earthquake – Hundreds Dead And Thousands Displaced
Italy is no stranger to earthquakes. In fact, The recent Central Italy earthquake is the fourteenth since 1905 to cause significant damage. Sadly, the 1968 Belice Valley Earthquake in Sicily left a permanent scar, forcing many to emigrate. The 1908 earthquake in Messina reduced one of Sicily’s largest cities to rubble. More recently, the 2009 earthquake in L’Aquila damaged and collapsed numerous historic churches and buildings.The #ItalianAmerican relief fund to supports victims of Central #ItalyEarthquake. Click To Tweet
Most noteworthy, the central Apennines is one of the most seismically active zones in Italy. The epicenter of the recent Italy earthquake lies in the “Alta Valle del Tronto.” As a result, on August 24th, 2016, at 3:36 am the 6.2 magnitude earthquake devastated many surrounding communities including Amatrice, Accumoli, and Arquata del Tronto. The initial tremor and aftershocks shuddered throughout central Italy from Rimini to Naples.
To date, Italy has officially reported the loss of 296 lives. The Vigili del Fuoco and Soccorso Alpino (Firemen and Alpine Rescue) pulled alive 238 people from the rubble. Fortunately, many others broke free on their own or with the help of other civilians. Unfortunately, many survivors lost loved ones in the tragic Central Italy earthquake.
The 2016 Central Italy Earthquake and its Casualties
During the summer months, many children return to their hometowns from larger cities such as Rome. They visit with their grandparents, while their parents continue to work. Frequently, young people stay out until early morning in small Italian villages during the summer. When the earthquake unleashed its fury, a group of teenagers in the town square desperately searched for a safe place to wait it out. Most of them found safety in the moment of terror. However, Andrea, age 14, and two of his friends ended up buried under the debris. Shortly after, a rescue team pulled Andrea out and transported him by helicopter to the hospital in Ancona. He is critically injured, but alive. In the end, his two friends did not live through the ordeal.
Miraculously, a quick-thinking grandmother put her two grandsons under the bed and laid on top of them. Hours later, a rescue team successfully pulled the three from the rubble alive. The six and four-year-old boys survived the traumatic ordeal with injuries. Although nonna Vitaliana sustained multiple broken bones, she is alive and recovering in a hospital in Ancona. Sadly, her husband Vito was not so fortunate to make it out alive.
In this case, a mother is left bewildered and heartbroken. Born and raised in L’Aquila, Martina Turco survived the horrible earthquake in 2009. Terrified by the experience, she transferred to Ascoli. During the month of August, she, her partner, Massimiliano Piermarini, and their 18-month-old baby Marisol relocated to their summer home in Arquata del Tronto. All three found themselves trapped beneath the rubble after the earthquake. Although Martina and Massimiliano escaped with minor injuries, their fragile daughter Marisol did not survive.
The Central Italy Earthquake Left Behind Widespread Destruction
The damages in the wake of the recent earthquake are astounding. Consequently, Amatrice’s historic center is now a pile of rubble. Only half of the town’s structures remain standing. Engineers are hard at work trying to understand how to save the Church of Sant’Agostino. The facade of the 15th-century church crumbled and the rose window no longer exists. Also damaged, the Francesco Grifoni hospital in Amatrice evacuated its patients. The smaller, less populated villages of Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto, a hamlet within comune of Arquata del Tronto, are now uninhabitable.
In total, seventeen comunes in six provinces and four regions experienced damages in the Central Italy earthquake.
- In the Region of Lazio, Province of Rieti 245 people lost their lives, thousands left homeless, and severe structural and cultural damage in the towns of Amatrice and Accumoli.
- In the Region of Marche, Provinces of Ascoli Piceno, Macerata, and Fermo 50 people lost their lives, hundreds left homeless, and severe structural damage in the towns of Arquata del Tronto, Montegallo, Acquasanta Terme, Montemonaco, Castelsantangelo Sul Nera, and Montefortino.
- In the Region of Umbria, Province of Perugia no deaths reported, but substantial structural damage in the towns of Norcia, Preci, Monteleone di Spoleto, and Cascia.
- In the Region of Abruzzo, Provinces of Teramo and L’Aquila one person lost their life, and substantial structural damage in the towns of Valle Castellana, Rocca Santa Maria, Montereale, Capitignano, and Campotosto.
Controversy Surrounding The Central Italy Earthquake
The large-scale destruction in the Central Italy earthquake left many people homeless. More than half of the town of Amatrice is rubble, and temporary camps are the only shelter for some residents. Upon further inspection, it appears as though some new and renovated buildings did not comply with the antiseismic law. For example, a church not restored according to the 1974 law crumbled and caused the death of a family. Equally important, a school built in 2012 and damaged by the earthquake cannot confirm that building codes are in place. An ongoing investigation is underway to determine the causes that allowed such widespread losses to occur.
Ultimately, many Italians in Central Italy lost loved ones and are currently homeless. Three weeks after the initial tremor, the headlines are fading away. In reality, aftershocks are continuing to hit Central Italy daily. You can contribute to the Italian-American relief fund to support the victims of the Central Italy earthquake.
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