Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Earthquake in Abruzzo

from Il Sussidiario.net, April 6, 2009
The hours pass as they try to save as many survivors as possibile from the terrible earthquake that hit Abruzzo last night. Marco Gentile lives near Aquila and is one of tens of thousands of people who have had to leave their homes during these last hours. He tells Ilsussidiario.net what people are experiencing at this dramatic time.

Marco, how is the situation now?

The situation is very serious, especially because the center of the city of Aquila was destroyed, and many historic buildings collapsed there. Now no one can enter the city, so there is no access to relief services.

Outside of Aquila, how is the general situation?

In the suburbs around Aquila the general condition is very serious in many cases, especially in the direction of Pescara where the town of Paganica had about 80% of its homes destroyed.

What was your experience of the terrible moments this night?

I was sleeping, of course, when we heard this violent shock; I think it lasted about thirty seconds. We immediately jumped up and started running down the street, my wife and I and our two children. My house wasn’t badly damaged because it is a one-family house; some houses, especially the older ones, were completely destroyed.

And the historic buildings?

The facade of the Sant’Elia church of my suburban neighborhood collapsed. Almost all the churches were heavily damaged in Aquila. I spoke with a friend who is still in Aquila, and he said that all the churches, the Duomo, the Church of the Holy Souls, and San Marciano, are seriously damaged. Then the most serious thing is that the Students House collapsed, as well as even some new buildings. They tell me that the hotel Duca d'Abruzzi has collapsed, but I have no confirmation of this news.

Are the emergency services coming?

The relief situation seems good; they have already set up camp in the suburbs and are distributing meals. In general, I see that people are very scared, but not desperate; people are aware of what has happened and that everything possible is being done to remedy it. Several convoys are also on their way I just came from Aquila and passed several of them coming from both Rome and the Adriatic.

Some are already saying that the event should have been anticipated.

In fact, I know that a researcher from the National Laboratories of Gran Sasso, Giampaolo Giuliani, after the shock of last week said that it was necessary to evacuate the city: although he predicted this shock would occur in 24 hours, it happened after one week.

How do the next few days look?

It’s hard to say. Another serious thing is that the company I work for is closed now and for the next two or three weeks because the building was substantially damaged. This is also a problem: our area already has few industries, and these have been hard hit. It is a problem, especially in a very difficult economic time.
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