During the early hours of Wednesday morning, residents of various central Italian towns were devastated by an earthquake that has taken 159 lives.
The Italian cities of Accumoli, Amatrice, Posta, and Aquata del Tronto are believed to be the most affected by the natural disaster. The Italian government reached out to the army who provided specialized heavy equipment to help retrieve any bodies buried under the debris. The Treasury allocated some 235 million euros, or $265 million, to go to emergency funds.
Accumoli Mayor, Stefano Petrucci, stated that about 2 500 of the city’s residents were left homeless. Before assistance arrived, residents used their bare hands to free themselves or loved ones from the rubble. The National Civil Protection Department has assured victims saying some residents will be housed other parts of central Italy while others will be accommodated in the tents made available in the area.
The US Geological Survey measured the earthquake at a 6.2 magnitude, locating the most severe damage in Norcia, Umbria. The Italian earthquake institute, INGV, recorded the disaster on a 6.0 scale and traced the epicenter to Accumoli and Amatrice. The institution recorded 60 aftershocks in the four hours since the initial quake, some of the strongest have been registered at 5.5 on the scale.
Tragedy in Italy
According to news reports, Amatrice Mayor Sergio Pirozzi gave a statement talking about the great loss the earthquake caused saying that half of the village had disappeared. The Italian official stated that voices could be heard beneath the rubble, and it is imperative that they be saved. Even a representative of the Red Cross, Tommaso Della Longa, referred to the incident as an “apocalypse”.
One of the victims Italian firefighters managed to rescue was an eight-year-old girl who was buried beneath piles of brick and glass in Pescara del Tronto. Residents of the village rejoiced and shouted “she’s alive” when firefighters found the child on Wednesday evening. The little girl was then taken to a nearby hospital, but details on her condition remain unknown.
Italy has not seen an earthquake this powerful since the one that hit the city of L’Aquila in 2009 that killed about 300 people. However, the worst natural disaster since the beginning of the 20th Century was seen in 1908 with an earthquake succeeded by a tsunami that killed approximately 80 000 people in Reggio Calabria and Sicily.
The challenge with natural disasters that differs from attacks brought about by people is that there is only a certain extent of preparation that can be achieved to mitigate the grave outcome. Until human beings possess the power to control the weather and seismic activity, we will always remain prey to mother nature’s whim. Whether it is intense rainfall that leads to floods, hurricanes, forest fires, drought or tsunamis; we are mostly helpless when nature chooses to strike. Simultaneously, there is one thing that could make a difference: if humanity would stop destroying the geological environment that surrounds them for profitable gain.
Source: Huffington Post