Rescue efforts are continuing into the night for people trapped in the ruins of buildings after this morning's earthquake in Abruzzo. It woke me up at about 03.30, with terrible rattling & shaking and all the car alarms going off. Only when I got up for work did I see on the news the full extent of the damage around the epicentre, near Aquila about 100km away.
The death toll currently stands at around 150, with 1500 seriously injured and up to 70,000 at least temporarily homeless. The political aftermath may be messy, not least since a local scientist predicted this in detail and was not only ignored but charged with public scaremongering by the local authorities. There's also the question of why it was not only the many medieval buildings of the city and surrounding villages which have crumbled to the ground, as perhaps might be expected, but also new structures which in theory should have been built according to vigorous earthquake-resistant standards. Buildings like the new hospital, evacuated since it has become unsafe, and the recently renovated student halls of residence, which was totally destroyed; were building laws ignored or are they insufficiently rigorous?
But these are questions for later. So far 60 people have been rescued from the rubble and the rescuers are still working. It's about 5°C and raining up there right now, so providing shelter for the homeless is an urgent and daunting task. They need food, medical supplies, blankets and above all tents and shelter. I was going to go & give blood, since the president of the region made an appeal, but about 5 hours later he said actually no stop we have enough right now and nowhere to store it all. So maybe next week.
I strongly suspect that by the time I get up in the morning the news will be worse yet. Aftershocks are continuing and may do so for at least another week: some buildings currently still standing may yet crumble. Speriamo bene.