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6.3 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Italy near Rome

Late Sunday night just before I was shutting down my computer I read the first reports of the Italy earthquake. At the time, the bulk of the news was coming in via Twitter, and the latest information had the epicenter in L’Aquila – about 60 miles east of Rome in the Abruzzo region – with two confirmed deaths. I woke up Monday morning to find the news was, not surprisingly, much worse.

The death toll has risen to 294 people, with more than 2,000 injured and (at last count) more than 65,000 left homeless as a result of the crumbled, unsafe, and utterly destroyed buildings in and around L’Aquila. The area suffered two smaller quakes the week before (not to mention several aftershocks throughout the week after the Monday morning quake), and Italy is known for its relatively regular seismic activity, but the 6.3-magnitude quake which struck at about 3:30am local time was much stronger than earthquakes in Italy typically are. Reuters published a list of the major quakes which have hit Italy over the last 100 years.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi visited L’Aquila Monday afternoon, and he declared a state of a emergency. He has promised a “record number of rescuers,” as dogs are still searching the rubble for survivors. Soon, rescuers say, they’ll be forced to move to a “recovery” mode rather than “rescue” – but they are still trying to dig out several collapsed buildings (including a college dormitory and the hospital) to see if they can locate more survivors.

My thoughts are with everyone in L’Aquila and the surrounding region, and anyone who has friends or family in the area. I’ll keep updating this post as I find new information and ways to help.

>> BBC News – Powerful Italian quake kills many – includes video reports from the most heavily damaged areas

>> Amazing stuff, read this earthquake survivor’s diary

7 April – Tuesday Updates:

>> Death toll in Italian quake rises to 150, from NY Times
>> Strong aftershocks in Abruzzo register 5.6 on Richter Scale, felt as far away as Rome again
>> The bodies of four students have been found in the L’Aquila dormitory.
>> Tourists in Italy shouldn’t have any problems traveling to Italy right now
>> Rescuers hunt all night for survivors
>> L’Aquila earthquake damaged ancient baths in Rome
>> Other historic monuments damaged
>> Some stories from the earthquake from Italian Notebook, including a woman who did crochet for 30 hours as she was trapped in her home
>> Italy quake exposes poor building standards
>> Berlusconi proposes building a new town near L’Aquila

8 April – Wednesday Updates:

>> A sea of tents is not enough – and yet Prime Minister Berlusconi says earthquake victims who are forced into tents “should see it like a weekend of camping.” (That’s not a gaffe, that’s an outrage.)
>> Couple crushed in embrace in Italy quake
>> Pope sends Vatican firemen for earthquake aid and is set to visit the earthquake site as soon as possible
>> The first funerals of earthquake victims are being prepared
>> Countries may help Italy rebuild cultural sites
>> Travelers urged to avoid L’Aquila during earthquake cleanup
>> Quake funerals begin in Italy as more bodies found

9 April – Thursday Updates:

>> Giant photos of the aftermath from the L’Aquila earthquake – simply heartbreaking, some of these
>> Google Earth imagery updated to include earthquake damage
>> The death toll rises to 275; looting in the earthquake damage has become a problem
>> Hopes of finding Italy quake survivors fade
>> Italy seeks help to restore quake-damaged churches
>> Italy quake survivor’s father dug with hands to save daughter
>> Madonna and Carla Bruni donate money to earthquake victims
>> Another aftershock, around 5.0 on the Richter scale, hit on Thursday night around 9:40pm local time, felt in Rome
>> Map of the Thursday evening aftershock, centered north of L’Aquila
>> Care arrives for pets lost, injured in Italy quake
>> Italy to hold state funeral for earthquake victims

10 April – Friday Updates:

>> Italy buries earthquake victims in Good Friday procession of the dead
>> Italy holds state funeral for quake dead
>> Death toll rises to 289
>> Apparent sign of life, 4 days after Italy quake
>> Berlusconi offers his homes to homeless earthquake refugees
>> Italy buries 200 quake victims
>> Pope Benedict XVI prays for victims of Italy’s ‘devastating phenomenon’
>> Italy surveys quake damage to historic structures
>> Berlusconi says the new L’Aquila “will not be a ghetto”
>> Since the 6 April quake, there have been more than 800 tremors, 9 of which measured between 4-5 on the Richter scale
>> Red Cross warehouses are full, so please stop sending material donations – unless specifically requested by the disaster areas
>> Where culture is another casualty
>> Although readers abroad were shocked when Berlusconi said earthquake victims forced to sleep in tents should think of it as a camping weekend, the Italian media censors his gaffes – that one didn’t even make the news.

11 April – Saturday Updates:

>> Routine sets in for Italy quake refugees

12 April – Sunday Updates:

>> Italy quake survivors mark Easter – Easter Mass held outdoors in L’Aquila because of unsafe buildings, local prosecutors investigating construction companies to see if shoddy work is to blame for the collapse of modern buildings
>> Italy earthquake: survivors in tent cities hold open-air Easter services
>> L’Aquila earthquake: loss of life & cultural treasures in ‘city of 99 churches,’ somber air on Easter
>> Mountain village that defied the Italian earthquake
>> Montrealers raise $80,000 for Italy quake relief

13 April – Monday Updates:

>> 10,000 aftershocks followed Italy quake
>> Italy Jews aid Central Italian towns hit by the earthquake that gave shelter during WWII
>> Pulling masterpieces from the ruins
>> Confusing patterns with coincidences – One Italian researcher warned of an impending earthquake around March 29th and was told to take his warning off the web after a March 29 earthquake didn’t materialize
>> Yet another strong aftershock hit the region, and could be felt as far away as Rome

14 April – Tuesday Updates:

>> Quake brings hardship to Italy’s immigrants
>> Italy earthquake focus shifts to saving Abruzzo’s heritage

15 April – Wednesday Updates:

>> Italy’s earthquake reconstruction will cost 12 billion euros
>> Roberto Saviano: Mafia out to make a killing from Italy quake

16 April – Thursday Updates:

>> Tax on the “super-rich” considered to pay for earthquake reconstruction

Updates beyond April 16th:

>> Pope to visit Italy’s quake-hit area April 28 & will stop at tent city housing survivors
>> F1 drivers unite for Italy quake relief, agree to donate items to be put up for charity auction
>> EU pledges over $650 million in aid for quake-hit Italy
>> Officials back Italy quake probe despite Berlusconi
>> Vatican to help restore art damaged in Italy quake
>> Italy seeks to move G8 summit to quake-hit city
>> Italy approves 8 billion euro quake construction package
>> L’Aquila earthquake survivor’s diary
>> 56% of houses inhabitable so far
>> Abruzzo museum’s prehistoric elephant skeleton intact
>> Murder charges possible

How You Can Help the L’Aquila Earthquake Victims

>> Information about where you can donate blood in Italy, and how you can donate to the Italian Red Cross, the Croce Rossa.

>> Excellent guide to helping the earthquake victims, in English

>> I just saw something on Twitter that rooms for the homeless and blood for the injured is needed in Abruzzo. They’re particularly in need of RH0-negative. Call 0854308309 if you can help.

>> There’s a Facebook group that has some good “how to help” information, it’s all in Italian.

>> Italy Magazine has a suggestion for how you can help with earthquake relief, by donating to a special fund set up at an Italian bank.

>> The National Italian American Foundation has set up a special fund you can donate to as well.

>> Send an SMS to donate €1 to the earthquake victims

>> Ms. Adventures in Italy round-up of ways to help

>> There are lots of people trying to find out about loved ones in and around L’Aquila; Blog from Italy posted a link to a list of the deceased – pass it along if you know anyone looking.

More L’Aquila Earthquake News Stories, Pictures, & Video