Aerial view of collapsed buildings around L'aquila April 6, 2009. A powerful earthquake struck central Italy early on Monday, killing more than 100 people, making up to 50,000 homeless and flattening entire medieval towns while residents slept.
A team from Caritas Italiana is in the city of L’Aquila to assess needs and coordinate relief efforts following yesterday’s 6.3 earthquake.
The disaster has left over 200 people dead and thousands more injured after it hit central Italy. The powerful earthquake, which happened in the early hours of Monday morning, flattened whole buildings and left an estimated 17,000 people homeless.
“In one tremor, whole streets came down,” said Fr Vittorio Nozza, director of Caritas Italiana. “Even compared to previous earthquakes in 2002 and 1997, I’ve never seen such devastation.”
“Caritas is working among those made homeless by the earthquake, and is focusing in particular on helping the vulnerable such as children and the elderly. We’re providing psychological support to help people pull through the disaster,” he said.
Caritas is currently assessing the needs of those affected and it is coordinating local efforts to provide relief.
It has set up a coordination centre outside L'Aquila to collect and redistribute food, blankets, hygiene items and clothes.
The director of Caritas Paganica will celebrate Easter Sunday mass on a sports field in the town for those affected by the earthquake. The church of Paganica, which is ten minutes away from L’Aquila, was damaged by the tremors.
“Easter Sunday offers a sign of hope and optimism,” says Don Dionisio Rodriguez, director of Caritas Aquila and parish priest of Paganica. “People aren’t feeling much joy at the moment, but Easter Sunday provides us with a sign of life and renewal.”
Caritas Italiana has also appealed for funds to help the relief effort. Meanwhile, it has set aside 100,000 euro to provide assistance to the people of L’Aquila and the surrounding area.
Caritas members from near and far have offered their solidarity and support as rescue efforts continue.
Caritas staff report that anxiety among the population is high, and further tremors today have left people feeling very vulnerable.
Make a donation to Caritas’s earthquake relief effort
For more information please contact Michelle Hough on +39 06 69879721/+39 334 2344136 or email@example.com