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


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

Comments :

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:
             - Web  : (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

Medieval city, founded in the 13th Century
Capital of the mountainous Abruzzo region
Population 70,000, with many thousands more tourists and foreign students
Walled city with narrow streets, lined by Baroque and Renaissance buildings
Historic town in ruins



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 the region.

Gianfranco Fini, speaker of the lower house of parliament, told MPs: "Some towns in the area have been virtually destroyed in their entirety."

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:

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."

Bare hands

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 reporters.

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 catastrophe fund."

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 churches.

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 the pain."

'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 children".

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 trapped inside.

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

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

Source: Reuters

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 that meeting.

"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.

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Italy's worst earthquake in nearly 30 years strikes city of L'Aquila

More than 130 die in central Italian earthquake

Mon Apr 6, 2009 5:57pm EDT

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 slept.

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 missing.

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 television.

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 the victims.

"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 L'Aquila.

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 survivor.

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 active areas.

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 seismic area.

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 Tim Pearce)


Italy Quake: 60 Survivors Pulled From Rubble

Nick Pisa in Rome

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 Rome.

The village of Onna, close to L'Aquila, was "wiped off the map" with no houses left standing, according to one emergency official.

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.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi cancelled a visit to Moscow and immediately flew to the scene, calling the area a "disaster zone".

See more 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 disaster.

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 left alone."

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 students inside.

The area around L'Aquila has been the scene of intense earthquake activity since October.

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 virtually destroyed.

An 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 he was.

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 blood supplies.

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 buildings.


Damage to Historical Monuments ‘Significant’

Published: April 6, 2009
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 telephone interview.

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 Rome.

Rescuers are continuing into the night their search for victims trapped in the rubble from Monday's earthquake.

Hope remains that more people will be found alive, as Italian media reported that a woman had been found 42 hours after the quake.

Rescuers remove a body from a university dormitory in L'Aquila

Two 98-year-olds survived quake Quake buildings 'below standard' In pictures: Race against time

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 agency.

"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.

BBC map

Historic L'Aquila reels 'Cries came from above and below'

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 own homes.

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 water

Serious risks

Latest from Dominic Hughes in Fossa, a village near L'Aquila

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 rescue effort.

"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 buildings.

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.