Culture Discovery Vacations Blog

Italy’s Earthquake- Questions Answered

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What Happened?

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, central Italy got hit pretty hard with a 6.2 magnitude earthquake. For those that did not grow up in a very earthquake prone area, that may not mean much, so here is a breakdown of the magnitude scale:

Magnitude Effects Estimated Number Each Year
2.5 or less Usually not felt 900,000
2.5 to 5.4 Often felt, causes minor damage 30,000
5.5 to 6.0 Slight damage to buildings 500
6.1 to 6.9 May cause a lot of damage in very populated areas 100
7.0 to 7.9 Major earthquake, serious damage 20
8.0 or greater Great earthquake. Can destroy communities 1 every 5-10 years

(http://www.geo.mtu.edu/UPSeis/magnitude.html)

Amatrice Before and After the Earthquake

Amatrice Before and After the Earthquake

Why So Much Damage?

Italy is one of the most tectonically active countries in Europe, with two major fault lines, almost 60 million Italians live in areas at high risk of earthquakes. According to Vincenzo Giovine, Vice President of Italy’s National Council of Geologists, Earthquakes are inevitable in Italy, just as they are in say, California or Japan, but the same earthquake in “California would never have caused the same amount of carnage”

“We need to develop a culture of prevention in Italy. We can and should be reinforcing our buildings and developing emergency plans before distster strikes. In Italy, nobody takes action until it’s too late”

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For reference, in 1994, Los Angeles was hit with a 6.7 magnitude earthquake, with the tremors felt all the way into Las Vegas. In such a densely populated city, the death count was 57.

Kaiser Permanente Building - Northridge Earthquake

Kaiser Permanent After Earthquake in Los Angeles

What About Norcia?

Amatrice, was almost completely leveled as a result of the earthquake that took place early Wednesday morning, but what about Norcia? The earthquake was only 11 miles away from our beloved town, they felt the tremors just as strong, but none of the buildings were damaged, and of the 4,900 people in Norcia, not a single person was even injured.

Norcia the night of the Earthquake, the people are out and scared, but everyone is safe and the town is in good condition

Norcia the night of the Earthquake, the people are out and scared, but everyone is safe and the town is in good condition

Norcia was badly hit by earthquakes in the past, and the town decided to take action, the buildings were anti seismically reinforced so that they could withstand the tremors.

What is Happening There Now?

Aftershocks are still coming, and this is slowing down the already difficult task of rescuing those trapped. The last aftershock hit at 6:28 am on August 26, two days after the initial quake, some 900 tremors have been felt since the big one on Wednesday.

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Many have been pulled from rubble alive, including a 10 year old girl from Amatrice, who was trapped under the debris for 17 hours. You can watch the video of her rescue here: 10 year old girl pulled from Rubble in Amatrice

The death toll as of Friday morning is 267, but that is not the final count, 387 people have been hospitalized with injuries, but nobody has been pulled alive from the piles of debris since Thursday evening. They will not stop searching and then will not stop digging until they are certain that there is nobody left, they are using thermal devices to detect the presence of human bodies and working day and night to find anybody else. The mayor of Amatrice guessed that there are still around 15 people buried under the ruins of his town.

An estimated 2,500 people have been left homeless as a result of this earthquake, and as rescue worked continue to search through the rubble, the survivors are moving into makeshift camps.

An estimated 2,500 people have been left homeless as a result of this earthquake, and as rescue worked continue to search through the rubble, the survivors are moving into makeshift camps.

How can we help?

There are many ways that you can help relief efforts in Italy.

  1. Order a plate of Amatriciana pasta. Restaurants in Italy, and many everywhere else in the world, are donating 2 Euro for every plate of Amatriciana pasta that is ordered. Amatriciana is a special plate of pasta that derives from the town of Amatrice, not only is it delicious, but it also can help towards relief efforts.
  2. Donate to the Italian Red Cross. You can donate with internations currencies here
  3. Donation points across Italian have been set up, where you can donate non perishable food, clothes, blankets, flash lights, and anything else that can be useful.

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3 thoughts on “Italy’s Earthquake- Questions Answered

  1. Martin Mezzabotta

    My heart aches for the family’s , my wife and I are booked to arrive in Tuscany for the week of September 23 , understanding the grief that you are all felling should we cancel and re book at an appropriate time ?

  2. Alyssa

    Hi Martin,
    Your vacation in Tuscany should not be affected. Tuscany barely felt the quake, as it was in the region of Umbria. Have a wonderful time in Italy and order some pasta amatriciana :).

  3. Donna Mollin

    We r booked on the September 17-24 trip in Norcia. We understand that Norcia hasn’t sustained any damage and we r grateful and delighted to hear that u r all safe.
    Do u know at this point in time if the itinerary will be changed. I imagine u r all trying to figure that out. Please let us know what to expect.
    Our hearts to out to all of Italy.

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