It was the wee hours of Monday morning (6 April 2009) when residents of L’Aquila, Italy were struck by one of nature’s deadliest disasters — an earthquake measuring 6.3 in the Richter scale. At present, fatality is estimated at over 150 while the wounded numbered around 1,500. The quake also left tens of thousands homeless.
The 6.3-magnitude earthquake likewise buckled both ancient and modern buildings in and around L’Aquila which was nested in a valley surrounded by the snowcapped Apennines’ tallest peaks. Centuries-old castles and churches dating back from the Middle Ages were not spared by the catastrophe.
The quake was followed by a series of aftershocks that continued until Tuesday morning. Rescue workers and firefighters were often forced to retreat when aftershocks rocked the collapsed buildings they were working on. Most of the time, the crew demanded complete silence to be able to listen to sounds of life from within the debris.
According to officials, it is estimated that around 10,000 to 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed while 100,000 were homeless. The quake hit 26 towns and cities around L’Aquila and a state of emergency has already been declared. The town of Onno was almost leveled but there were still no reports available on casualties from its 250 residents. Condolences poured from around the world, including Pope Benedict XVI who prayed for the victims and President Barack Obama.
L’Aquila’s main hospital had to be evacuated due to the risk of collapse, leaving many of the wounded to be treated out in the open.
This bit of news shocked me yesterday as I had just finished watching “Knowing,” the mystery thriller starring Nicolas Cage. It revolves around the disaster predictions of a schoolgirl 50 years ago uncovered from a time capsule. Every major disaster in the world was predicted and written by Lucinda through series of numbers depicting the dates and the number of casualties of the future events. And at the very end of her predictions, she forecasts the end of the world. Scary huh?
My condolences to the family and relatives of victims who perished in this recent disaster in Italy.