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    My heart goes out to the victims and their families, especially to the famillies of the children who were lost.

    May the Force bring them peace and Serenity. 

    L’AQUILA, Italy – A powerful earthquake in mountainous central Italy knocked down whole blocks of buildings as residents slept, killing at least 70 people and trapping many more, officials said Monday. Thousands were homeless.

    The earthquake’s epicenter was about 70 miles northeast of Rome near the medieval city of L’Aquila. It struck at 3:32 a.m. local time in a quake-prone region that has had at least nine smaller jolts since the beginning of April. The U.S. Geological Survey said Monday’s quake was magnitude 6.3, but Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics put it at 5.8.

    Civil Protection chief Guido Bertolaso said 70 had been killed, but Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper said that rescue workers were reporting 92 deaths.

    Officials said the death toll was likely to rise as rescue crews clawed through the debris of fallen homes.

    L’Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente said some 100,000 people had left their homes and that many buildings in the city’s historic center were damaged. Slabs of walls, twisted steel supports, furniture and wire fences were strewn about the streets and a gray dust carpeted sidewalks, cars and residents.

    As ambulances screamed through the city, firefighters aided by dogs worked feverishly to reach people trapped in fallen buildings, including a student dormitory where half a dozen university students were believed still inside.

    Outside the half-collapsed dorm, tearful young people huddled together, wrapped in blankets, some still in their slippers after being roused from sleep by the quake.

    “We managed to come down with other students but we had to sneak through a hole in the stairs as the whole floor came down,” said student Luigi Alfonsi, 22. “I was in bed — it was like it would never end as I heard pieces of the building collapse around me.”

    The town of Castelnuovo also appeared hard hit, with five confirmed dead there.

    Premier Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency, freeing up federal funds to deal with the disaster. He canceled a visit to Russia and planned to go to L’Aquila to deal with the crisis.

    Residents and rescue workers hauled away debris from collapsed buildings by hand.

    Firefighters pulled a woman covered in dust from the debris of her four-story home. Rescue crews demanded quiet as they listened for signs of life from other people believed still trapped inside.

    Bloodied victims waited to be tended to in hospital hallways or outside in the hospital courtyard. Only two operating rooms were working. Civil protection crews were erecting a field hospital to deal with the influx of wounded.

    On the city’s dusty streets, as aftershocks continued to rumble through, residents hugged one another, prayed quietly or frantically tried to call relatives. Residents covered in dust pushed carts full of clothes and blankets that they had hastily packed before fleeing their homes.

    “We left as soon as we felt the first tremors,” said Antonio D’Ostilio, 22, as he stood on a street in L’Aquila with a huge suitcase piled with clothes he had thrown together. “We woke up all of a sudden and we immediately ran downstairs in our pajamas.”

    Agostino Miozzo, an official with the Civil Protection Department, said between 10,000 and 15,000 buildings were damaged. He said stadiums and sporting fields were being readied to house the homeless.

    “This means that the we’ll have several thousand people to assist over the next few weeks and months,” Miozzo told Sky Italia. “Our goal is to give shelter to all by tonight.”

    ANSA said the dome of a church in L’Aquila collapsed, while the city’s cathedral also suffered damage.

    The Israeli Embassy in Rome said that officials were trying to make contact with a few Israeli citizens believed to be in the region who had not been in touch with their families. Embassy spokeswoman Rachel Feinmesser did not give an exact number.

    L’Aquila lies in a valley surrounded by the Apennine mountains. It is the regional capital of the Abruzzo region, with about 70,000 inhabitants.

    The last major quake to hit central Italy was a 5.4-magnitude temblor that struck the south-central Molise region on Oct. 31, 2002, killing 28 people, including 27 children who died when their school collapsed.


    Here’s the latest about the earthquake:

    L’AQUILA, Italy (April 7) – The death toll in Italy’s quake has risen to 260, officials said Wednesday, as strong aftershocks cause further fear among residents sheltered in tent camps.As rescue teams continued searching through the debris for survivors, the homeless emerged from their tents after spending a second night in chilly mountain temperatures.
    “I slept so badly because I kept feeling the aftershocks,” said Daniela Nunut, speaking at one of the tent camps set up across L’Aquila. The 46-year Romanian-born woman said she and her companion plan to stay in the tent for now. “What can you do? You can’t go into the building.”
    The magnitude-6.3 quake hit L’Aquila and several towns in central Italy early Monday, leveling buildings and reducing entire blocks to a pile of rubble and dust.
    Skip over this content
    The Civil Protection said that 250 people have died, including 11 who remained to be identified.
    Fifteen people remain missing, Civil Protection officials said.
    The dead included four students trapped in the rubble of a dormitory of the University of L’Aquila, the ANSA news agency reported.
    By Tuesday evening, rescue crews gave up gingerly removing debris by hand and brought in huge pincers that pulled off parts of the dorm roof, balconies and walls, showering debris down.
    “Unless there is a miracle, I’ve been told (by rescuers) that they probably are dead,” university rector Ferdinando Di Orio said.
    Since the quake Monday, there have been some 430 aftershocks, including some strong ones, said Marco Olivieri of the National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology in Rome.
    A strong aftershock at 7:47 p.m. Tuesday rained debris on screaming residents and rescue crews, who ran from the site.
    Many survivors at the camp said they had been cold during the night as heaters in some of the tents were not working. Some read a newspaper as they lined up for hot coffee or tea and a croissant.
    To shelter the homeless against the chilly nights in the mountains, some 20 tent cities have sprouted in open spaces around L’Aquila and surrounding towns. Field kitchens, medical supplies and clowns with bubbles — to entertain traumatized children — were brought in.
    Officials estimated Monday that 50,000 people had been left homeless by the quake. By Tuesday evening, that number was lowered to between 17,000 and 25,000, because many moved in with friends or relatives.
    As rescue workers continued searching through the debris, they pulled a young woman alive from a collapsed building about 42 hours after the main quake struck the mountainous region.
    Eleonora Calesini, a 20-year-old student, was found alive Tuesday in the ruins of the five-story building in central L’Aquila.
    Officials said some 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed in the 26 cities, towns and villages around L’Aquila, a city of 70,000 that is the regional capital of Abruzzo. Teams planned to begin surveying those buildings still standing on Wednesday to see if residents could move back in.


    What I find interesting is that it was surprising to see the quake was in Italy.  Now, I know there are faults in that area, but it’s been so long since we saw an earthquake there it just slipped from my mind.  Realistically, most of us live close enough to a fault to be affected by an earthquake.  I’ve been through one big one, 7.1 in California, but no major damage because it was in the middle of the desert, and then a small one around a 4 in Indiana months later.  So it really can happen anytime, anywhere (practically). That’s just one reason why we have a course developed by Inari called situational awareness.  It covers how to survive in these types of situations, where water supplies are perhaps unsafe, everyone is panicking, and things can go very wrong very fast. 

    My heart goes out to all of those affected.  Even without the damage, it’s a stressful situation to have the ground move underneath you. 


    There will probably be more earthquakes around the world. About a month ago, there were two in Melbourne of about 3.5 on the richter scale. Australia lies smack in the middle of a plate and earthquakes are very uncommon, so there seem to be geologic stresses underway. I am expecting NZ to have one soonish, thankfully where we are rarely has serious quakes.


    3.5 is practically nothing :-)  No worries, those little ones are just relieving the stress that would otherwise build up to big ones.  It’s normal for small aftershocks to be at other places in the world, it just sucks when “aftershocks” are in the 6 range!


    Prayers for all those affected by this earthquake. :meditate

    I read yesterday that an Astro Physicist tried to warn people three days before that a big quake was coming. Something to do with a study into gas release from the earths crust? Unsure perhaps some else knows more on this. Any way the police told him to stop the warnings and made him take it off his web site. Did anyone else read or hear something like this?



    Didn’t hear of it, but there are certainly different people working on different prediction methods, so it’s possible. 

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