eTN’s Italy correspondent reports on devastating earthquake

ITALY (eTN) – eTurboNews’ correspondent in Italy sent this accounting of the devastating earthquake that has struck his country.

Pescara del Tronto, one of the many communes hit by the earthquake in Italy, has been completely destroyed. This has just been declared by its mayor, who was in tears on the main Italian TV channel which has been broadcasting news since the early morning about the damages caused by the large quake.

The area hit by the quake extended to the heart of central Italy, making it very difficult to reach some of secluded zones buried under rocks on the mountain.

The government’s Civil Protection Department has been very active coordinating the rescue of lives with the help of the fire brigade, police, soldiers, and volunteers arriving from everywhere. Police dog units and electronic systems are being used to spot sign of life under the debris.

The news has been alternating from the joyful information when lives have been rescued to sad findings of dead bodies which keep escalating, counting above 24 so far, including children. Many people are listed as missing, which is a bad sign.

The run to save lives is being done by a task force who must move stones and concrete blocks by hand. Scenes show people evacuating from higher floors of damaged houses using bed sheets.

Most areas are without water, electricity, and food. Helicopters are also having a hard time helping in rescue efforts.

Offers for financial help has been coming in from the EU and Israel, and Russia offered to send special safety squads with live-detective machineries.

This damage is all the dramatic result of three earthquakes and aftershocks covering one of the largest areas so far recorded in Italy’s history. The quake was also felt by some districts in Rome and down south in Naples.

The director of the National Geophysical and Volcanologist Institute, an expert in Roma, said that the initial strong earthquake waves will be followed by many minor aftershocks, creating continuous panic to the population.

The earthquake that destroyed the city of Aquila some years ago, recorded 10,000 medium vibrations following the major one, and 64,000 more settlement vibrations, stated the director, adding that the quake itself destroys only the buildings whose construction is weak.

A map of the Italian earthquake zone was presented to the Italian Government in the year 2003 with a recommendation of provisions to be adopted, but nothing was done to prevent damages, said the director to a TV interviewer.

Asked about the origin of the earthquake in the central area of Italy, the director of the National Geophysical and Volcanologist Institute replied that it historically originated from damage suffered by the stratum of the Apennine Mountains chain (Central Italy’s mountains) back in 1639-1703.