Death toll has risen to 202
Pope Benedict hold funeral mass for the
earthquake victims on Good Friday.
|EARTHQUAKE on 06/04/2009 at 01:32 (UTC)
CENTRAL ITALY 7 km NW L'aquila
MAGNITUDE: Mw 6.2
Data provided by: BEO BUC GFU GFZ IMP INGV KAN LDG LED LJU
LVV MAD MCSM MSO NEIC NEWS ODC OGS PDA RNS
SOF WAR ZAMG
Latitude = 42.38 N
Longitude = 13.32 E
Origin Time = 01:32:41.4 (UTC)
Depth = 2 Km
RMS = 1.48 sec
Gap = 9 degrees
95% confidence ellipse: - Semi major = 2.1 Km
- Semi minor = 1.5 Km
- Azimuth of major axis = 25 degrees
Number of data used = 744
Preliminary location computed on Mon Apr 6 02:28:12 2009 (UTC)
Done by Gilles Mazet-Roux
Message number: 1168
All magnitudes estimations :
ML6.5 (BEO) ML6.2 (BUC) ML5.3 (GFU) M 5.6 (GFZ)
M 6.2 (GFZ) ML5.7 (INGV) ML5.9 (INGV) ML5.8 (INGV)
mb6.6 (LDG) ML5.5 (LDG) ML5.6 (LED) ML6.4 (LJU)
mb6.2 (MAD) M 6.3 (NEIC) ML6.1 (ODC) ML5.5 (RNS)
ML5.6 (SOF) mb4.3 (ZAMG)
P.S.: For additional information, please contact EMSC at:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Web : http://www.emsc-csem.org (maps available)
- Fax : 33 1 69 26 70 00
There have been 4 more quakes in the range of 4.5 to 5.7
so far as well.
Another quake - 5.7 occurred today - 4-7-09.
followed by a 5.5 quake on 4-7-09
Another 5.2 quake occurred on 4-8-09
Another 4-9 quake on 4-8-09
4-13-09 - quake of 4.2
Historic town in ruins
Medieval city, founded in the 13th Century
Capital of the mountainous Abruzzo region
Population 70,000, with many thousands more tourists and foreign
Walled city with narrow streets, lined by Baroque and Renaissance
RESCUERS HUNT FOR SURVIVORS
A desperate search for survivors is on in and
around the Italian city of L'Aquila after a quake killed, Italian
media say, at least 150 people.
Some 5,000 rescuers are picking through rubble in the walled
medieval city and nearby towns and villages, some of them said to
have been virtually destroyed.
Tents are being put up in tennis courts and on football
pitches to house some of the 30,000-40,000 homeless.
The number of people injured has been put at 1,500.
Italy's PM Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency in
Gianfranco Fini, speaker of the lower house of parliament,
told MPs: "Some towns in the area have been virtually destroyed in
Such is the damage in L'Aquila, where between 3,000 and 10,000
buildings were reportedly affected, that the city will be
uninhabitable for some time, the BBC's David Willey reports.
Surrounding villages were also hit hard:
- In the village of Onna, 24 people were killed, according to
the Italian news agency Ansa; the village of 250 was virtually
deserted as survivors sought shelter
- In Castelnuovo, a village of about 300 people, five deaths
It has been reported that a major earthquake in the L'Aquila
area was predicted by an Italian scientist several weeks ago.
But a spokesman for the Italian Civil Protection Agency, Dr
Agostino Miozzo, was adamant that this was not possible.
"We can only say that an area is prone to earthquakes," he
told the BBC.
"From here down to Sicily is historically an area interspersed
by earthquakes, but even that we cannot predict."
Fire-fighters aided by dogs worked feverishly to reach people
trapped in fallen buildings in L'Aquila, including a student
dormitory where several students were believed to be still inside.
Residents and rescuers used their bare hands to clear the
debris from collapsed buildings.
"We are not using machines for this because experience has
shown us that it is important to dig by hand [to avoid further
casualties]," said Mr Berlusconi after arriving in L'Aquila.
He said a field hospital, 2,000 tents and 4,000 hotel rooms
were being made available.
"I can assure you that there is no building that has fallen
down without rescuers, without fire brigade being there," he told
Italy, he said, had the resources it needed to deal with the
disaster: "Financially, there are no problems. The government has
all the necessary funds at its disposal. We also have the EU
Officials say 26 cities and towns have been damaged in the
region, not including villages and hamlets.
There have been stories of rescues all day, the BBC's Duncan
Kennedy reports from L'Aquila.
Men, women and children have been brought out of the rubble,
some carried on ladders used as makeshift stretchers, some screaming
with delight at having survived.
'Struck the heart'
The 6.3-magnitude quake struck at 0330 (0130 GMT) close to
L'Aquila, 95km (60 miles) north-east of Rome.
It lasted about 30 seconds, bringing down many Renaissance-era
and Baroque buildings, including the dome on one of L'Aquila's
Boulders fell off mountain slopes, blocking roads. Houses were
reduced to piles of rubble and cars crushed by raining debris.
One resident, Antonio di Marco, recounted his experience for
the BBC: "We escaped outside like madmen, we didn't understand what
was happening, the whole building was moving under our feet, it is
something that's impossible to describe…"
"It's a catastrophe and an immense shock," resident Renato Di
Stefano told the Associated Press as he and his family headed for
shelter in a tent camp outside L'Aquila.
"It's struck in the heart of the city, we will never forget
'State of shock'
Dr Miozzo said many survivors faced a rough night ahead.
"Tonight we'll have a great number of people that will sleep
in their car, people that will go to their relatives in the
neighbouring area, in the neighbouring towns that are in safe
conditions," he told the BBC.
"But they are very shocked, you see, especially the aged
people and obviously children."
Phone and power lines have been down and some bridges and
roads have been closed as a precaution against aftershocks.
Italy lies on two fault lines and has been hit by powerful
earthquakes in the past, mainly in the south of the country.
World leaders have sent messages of condolence and Pope
Benedict XVI offered prayers for the "victims, especially the
The EU, Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Israel and Russia
immediately stepped forward with offers of aid, if required.
Latest from Duncan Kennedy, L'Aquila
Here in the centre of the city, building after building has
been left destroyed or half standing with cracks and holes.
We watched as rescue workers struggled to pull out
survivors, crawling on their stomachs to try to reach those
There is a stream of almost ghostly figures, local people
caught up in the early hours this morning in this earthquake,
who are pouring past us wearing blankets.
They are pulling suitcases and luggage past this collapsed
building trying to get to safety. People are wandering around
in a dazed state.
Eyewitness: 'Everything falling'
In pictures: L'Aquila in shock
MAJOR ITALIAN QUAKES
2002 - 30 die, including 27 pupils and their teacher,
in the southern town of San Giuliano di Puglia
1997 - 13 die and priceless cultural heritage lost in
the central Umbria region
1980 - Nearly 3,000 people die, some 9,000 injured
and 30,000 displaced near Naples
Italy muzzled scientist who foresaw quake
06 Apr 2009 11:22:00 GMT
By Gavin Jones
ROME, April 6 (Reuters) - An Italian scientist predicted a major
earthquake around L'Aquila weeks before disaster struck the city on
Monday, killing dozens of people, but was reported to authorities for
spreading panic among the population.
The first tremors in the region were felt in mid-January and continued
at regular intervals, creating mounting alarm in the medieval city,
about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome.
Vans with loudspeakers had driven around the town a month ago telling
locals to evacuate their houses after seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani
predicted a large quake was on the way, prompting the mayor's anger.
Giuliani, who based his forecast on concentrations of radon gas around
seismically active areas, was reported to police for "spreading alarm"
and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.
Italy's Civil Protection agency held a meeting of the Major Risks
Committee, grouping scientists charged with assessing such risks, in
L'Aquila on March 31 to reassure the townspeople.
"The tremors being felt by the population are part of a typical sequence
... (which is) absolutely normal in a seismic area like the one around
L'Aquila," the civil protection agency said in a statement on the eve of
"It is useful to underline that it is not in any way possible to predict
an earthquake," it said, adding that the agency saw no reason for alarm
but was nonetheless effecting "continuous monitoring and attention".
As the media asked questions about the authorities' alleged failure to
safeguard the population ahead of the quake, the head of the National
Geophysics Institute dismissed Giuliani's predictions.
"Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have
predicted it," he said. "As far as I know nobody predicted this
earthquake with precision. It is not possible to predict earthquakes."
Enzo Boschi said the real problem for Italy was a long-standing failure
to take proper precautions despite a history of tragic quakes.
"We have earthquakes but then we forget and do nothing. It's not in our
culture to take precautions or build in an appropriate way in areas
where there could be strong earthquakes," he said.
AlertNet news is provided by
States of America
Italy's worst earthquake in nearly 30 years strikes city of L'Aquila
The village of Onna, close to L'Aquila, was "wiped off the
map" with no houses left standing, according to one
More than 130 die in central Italian earthquake
By Deepa Babington
L'AQUILA, Italy (Reuters) - A powerful earthquake struck central
Italy early on Monday, killing more than 130 people, making up to
50,000 homeless and flattening entire medieval towns while residents
As rescue workers combed through the rubble for survivors and
rushed to set up tents for the homeless, officials warned the death
toll could rise further and declined to estimate the number of
Most of the dead were in L'Aquila, a 13th-century mountain city
about 100 km (60 miles) east of Rome, and villages and towns in the
Abruzzo region. The quake struck around 3.30 a.m. (9: 30 p.m. EDT)
and aftershocks rattled the area through the day.
"Please help us, we've lost everything, we are desperate," said a
sobbing man whose mother and 21-year old son were killed.
"I called them, I called them until I had no voice left. I was
digging in the rubble with my own bare hands. They found them this
afternoon, buried in debris, hugging each other," he told state
Lower house speaker Gianfranco Fini said some towns in the area
had been "virtually destroyed in their entirety."
Abruzzo's regional government said more than 130 people were
confirmed dead, some 20 hours after the quake struck with a
magnitude of between 5.8 and 6.3. ANSA news agency quoted hospital
sources as saying more than 150 people had died.
Emergency services said 60 people had been plucked alive form the
wreckage, including six students trapped inside a collapsed
dormitory, but the website of Corriere della Sera said 250 people
were still missing.
"I woke up hearing what sounded like a bomb," said L'Aquila
resident Angela Palumbo, 87.
"We managed to escape with things falling all around us.
Everything was shaking, furniture falling. I don't remember ever
seeing anything like this in my life."
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi canceled a trip to Moscow and
declared a national emergency, freeing up funds for aid and
rebuilding. But he also appeared on the defensive about reports that
officials shrugged off a warning about the quake weeks ago.
Flying in to the disaster zone, Berlusconi told reporters that
now was the time to concentrate on relief efforts and "we can
discuss afterwards about the predictability of earthquakes."
The Civil Protection department said up to 50,000 people may have
been made homeless in some 26 cities and towns. More than 1,500
people were injured and thousands of houses, ancient churches and
buildings collapsed or were damaged.
Rubble was strewn throughout L'Aquila, a city of 68,000, and
nearby towns, blocking roads and hampering rescue teams. Old women
wailed and residents armed with only their bare hands helped
firefighters and rescue workers in the rubble.
In the small town of Onna, which was almost entirely razed to the
ground, 24 people were killed. A Reuters witness saw a mother and
her infant daughter carried away in the same coffin.
Berlusconi told reporters in L'Aquila that tent cities
and field hospitals would be set up there and hotels on
the Adriatic coast would be requisitioned to shelter
thousands of homeless.
"We're hoping they give us a tent or something to sleep
under tonight," said 70-year-old Isenia Santilli, taking
shelter at a sports field outside L'Aquila's city center
where the Red Cross was feeding quake victims.
Residents of Rome, which is rarely hit by seismic
activity, were woken by the quake, which rattled
furniture and swayed lights in most of central Italy.
Pope Benedict said he was saying a special prayer for
"When the quake hit, I rushed out to my father's
house and opened the main door and everything had
collapsed. My father is surely dead. I called for help
but no one was around," said Camillo Berardi in
A resident standing by an apartment block that was
reduced to the height of an adult said: "This building
was four storeys high."
In another part of the city, residents tried to hush
the wailing of grief to try to pinpoint the screams of a
Part of a university residence and a hotel collapsed
in L'Aquila and at least one person was still trapped.
At least four Romanesque and Renaissance churches and a
16th century castle were damaged.
Part of the nave of the Basilica of Santa Maria di
Collemaggio, one of the area's best-known churches,
collapsed. To the north, the belltower of the lavish
Renaissance Basilica of San Bernardino also crumbled.
Bridges and highways in the mountainous area were
closed as a precaution.
Weeks before the disaster, an Italian scientist had
predicted a major quake around L'Aquila, based on
concentrations of radon gas found around seismically
Seismologist Gioacchino Giuliani, who lives in
L'Aquila, was reported to police for "spreading alarm"
and was forced to remove his findings from the Internet.
Civil Protection assured locals at the end of March
that tremors being felt were "absolutely normal" for a
Earthquakes can be particularly dangerous in parts of
Italy because so many buildings are centuries old. About
2,700 people died in an earthquake in the south in 1980.
(Writing by Philip Pullella and Phil Stewart;
additional reporting by Reuters Rome bureau; editing by
Italy Quake: 60 Survivors Pulled From Rubble
Rescuers have pulled 60 survivors from the rubble
after a massive earthquake in central Italy, which killed
more than 150 people.
Around 1,500 people have been made homeless by the quake,
hospital sources said.
Rescuers have been searching for
survivors as dozens of aftershocks continued to plague the
area hampering their efforts.
TV footage showed rescuers racing away from the rubble
of a ruined house as a tremor hit, sending masonry flying.
Gianfranco Fini, speaker of Italy's lower house of
parliament, said entire towns had been "virtually
destroyed" with 15,000 buildings off limits.
The epicentre was close to the city of L'Aquila in the
centre of Italy, about 100 miles northeast of
In the fields outside, row after row
of coffins were lined up and officials said at least 50 of
the 400 inhabitants are dead.
The tremor struck at just after 3.30am local time and
measured 6.3 on the Richter scale.
Silvio Berlusconi cancelled a visit to Moscow
and immediately flew to the scene, calling the area a
pictures of the earthquake scene.
He has declared a state of emergency for the central
Abruzzo region where the quake struck.
After flying over the scene in a helicopter he said:
"At the moment 4,000 rescuers are at work and
concentrating on extracting people from the rubble."
He added that a camp with 2,000 tents, each capable of
housing eight to 10 people, was currently being set up in
L'Aquila for those who had lost their homes in the
Around 4,000 beds in hotels in the area have also been
reserved for survivors.
"The camp should be ready be tonight," he said. "The
fundamental thing I want to say is that nobody will be
Guido Bertolaso, head of the Italian Civil
Defence, said: "Many, many buildings have collapsed and
there are people trapped inside.
"Emergency services are travelling to the scene and we
are working on rescuing people who are trapped.
Thousands of people have been left homeless and
we are providing emergency shelters such as
tents for them."
He added: "This is the worst
disaster to have hit Italy since the start of
the millennium and I would appeal to people not
to go to the area."
Emergency services were also focusing their
attention on a university hall of residence in
L'Aquila which had partially collapsed with
The area around L'Aquila has been the
scene of intense earthquake activity
There was another
smaller tremor around midnight which
measured 4.6 on the Richter scale.
L'Aquila is a picturesque medieval
town and has been hit by severe
tremors twice before, in 1461 and
1703. Both times the city was
Italian scientist claims he
predicted a major quake near
the town weeks ago but was reported to
authorities for spreading panic.
As rescue efforts continued tragic
stories emerged, including one
involving a two-year-old girl who was
dug out of the ruins of her home at
San Gregorio. Her mother's dead body
was wrapped around her as a shield.
One firefighter said: "It was tragic
to see. The girl has been injured and
has been taken to hospital by
helicopter but her mother sadly died -
she shielded her from the debris."
In another case, a 20-year-old
student was dug from the collapsed
ruins of the university hall of
residence after calling his sister who
directed emergency services to where
Officials said that, in total, 26
council districts had been hit by the
earthquake in a radius of around 35
miles from L'Aquila.
There was also minor damage reported
as far afield as Rome and Naples.
Pope Benedict XVI said he
was praying for the victims and
officials launched urgent appeals for
Civil protection officials said at
least 50,000 people had been left
homeless as a result of the quake.
They stressed many would be
temporarily homeless while engineers
carry out structural checks on damaged
Damage to Historical Monuments ‘Significant’
ROME — The earthquake in Abruzzo did not spare the region’s
artistic patrimony, though government officials said Monday that it
was too soon to determine the extent of the damage to historical
buildings or works of art.
In L’Aquila, the regional capital, the earthquake caused
“significant damage to monuments,” said Giuseppe Proietti, secretary
general of the Italian Culture Ministry. The rear part of the apse
of the Romanesque basilica of Santa Maria di Collemaggio, much of
which was restored in the 20th century, collapsed and cupolas in at
least two churches in the historic center had cracked open.
The third floor of the 16th-century castle that houses the
National Museum of Abruzzo was also affected by the quake, though
officials have not been able to verify the damage to the art
collection there. The news agency ANSA reported that the Porta
Napoli, built in 1548 in honor of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V,
was destroyed in the quake.
“The situation is very serious,” but findings are at a
preliminary stage, Mr. Proietti said. He added that only after
firefighters and civil protection teams had concluded their rescue
efforts and search for survivors would the state’s art officials be
allowed to enter into the rubble-strewn cities to calculate the
material losses to Abruzzo’s cultural heritage.
“Right now, getting around is impossible,” he said in a
Monday’s earthquake, with a 6.3 magnitude, was not the first
to strike the central Italian city. In 1703, a quake destroyed much
of the medieval historic center, which was then rebuilt in the
Baroque style, according to Alessandro Clementi, who has written
several books on the history of L’Aquila, which was founded in the
13th century and had its moment of greatest socioeconomic importance
in the Renaissance.
“What risks being lost is a point of reference of European
civilization,” said Mr. Clementi. He was in the countryside outside
L’Aquila, and had not seen the damage to the city firsthand.
Difficulties in communication between the culture ministry and
art officials in the cities affected by the earthquake were also
making it hard to gauge the extent of the damage. “It’s a tragic
situation, because we’re only getting news a drop at a time,” said
Maria Teresa Spinozzi, an art official in Pescara, an Abruzzo city
not affected by the quake. “But right now, the priority is saving
people under the rubble.”
Officials in Rome said that the quake had also damaged the
Baths of Caracalla, one of the most imposing ancient Roman ruins in
the Italian capital, some 60 miles west of the epicenter of the
quake, and there was significant damage reported in the villages
around L’Aquila as well.
Aftershock hits Italy quake zone
A powerful aftershock has hit
central Italy, nearly two days after a major earthquake
caused severe damage.
The 5.5-magnitude tremor brought down masonry from
already damaged buildings and was felt as far away as
Rescuers are continuing into the night their
search for victims trapped in the rubble from Monday's
Hope remains that more people will be found alive,
as Italian media reported that a woman had been found 42
hours after the quake.
The woman, named Eleonora, was said to be
conscious throughout the operation to rescue her from
the debris of a building close to the historic centre of
the city of L'Aquila.
Earlier Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
said the operation would continue for a further 48 hours
and involve 7,000 rescuers.
Rescuers said they needed to get results quickly
to prevent further problems for those affected.
"We're a bit tired," Fabrizio Curcio, director of
the civil protection emergency bureau told AFP news
"But frankly, fatigue is not a major concern...
We're running on adrenaline. There's still a long road
ahead of us."
More than 200 people were killed and more than
1,000 injured. One-hundred-and-fifty people have been
pulled alive from the rubble.
The head of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco
Rocha, said 20,000 people were homeless and it could be
months or even years before they were all back in their
More than 10,000 buildings have been destroyed -
mostly in L'Aquila.
As rescue efforts continued:
- A 98-year-old woman was pulled out alive in
L'Aquila after being trapped for 30 hours, local media
report. She spent the time crocheting
- Four students have been located in a collapsed
university hall of residence, but remain trapped under
large chunks of masonry, the Associated Press reports.
It is not known whether they are alive or dead
- A 23-year-old student was pulled alive with the
help of specialist cavers from the rubble of a
four-storey building in L'Aquila more than 22 hours
after the quake struck
- L'Aquila and the surrounding area were without
Latest from Dominic Hughes in Fossa, a village
Successes are becoming rarer. At two o'clock this
morning a woman was rescued by a team of expert
cavers after a long and painstaking operation to
remove huge slabs of concrete.
But with every passing hour the likelihood
of finding survivors is reduced.
Apart from the search for survivors the most
urgent task is to find some kind of accommodation
for thousands of people who are now unable to
return to their damaged homes.
Earlier Mr Berlusconi, appearing at a news
conference in L'Aquila, thanked all involved in the
"There have been serious risks for the lives of
those who are carrying out the rescue operation so far,
inside buildings that have been damaged and, following
another tremor, could easily collapse," he said.
"So therefore this is a very dangerous situation
for the rescuers."
He said that starting from Wednesday specialists
would start checking individual buildings.
Quake woman saved after 42 hours
Mr Berlusconi has refused foreign aid, saying
Italians were "proud people" and had sufficient
resources to deal with the crisis.
But AFP news agency quoted him as saying he could
accept funds from Washington to help restore historical
Between 3,000 and 10,000 buildings are thought to
have been damaged in L'Aquila, making the 13th-Century
city of 70,000 uninhabitable for some time.