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Jasonik
April 6th, 2009, 08:43 AM
Page last updated at 11:34 GMT, Monday, 6 April 2009 12:34 UK (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7985248.stm)
Eyewitnesses: Italy earthquake

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A powerful earthquake has struck the central Italian city of L'Aquila, killing dozens of people. Here witnesses describe what happened.

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RESIDENT IDA SPAGNOLI, SPEAKING TO THE BBC

"I was in my living room on the couch, sleeping, when I heard the first sounds, the first tremors coming at 11 o'clock, and it was quite frightening.

Then I fell asleep and all of a sudden I was on the floor and the walls around me were caving in. I couldn't see anything it was just dust, cement - the smell of cement the smell of dust all over and then when it finally cleared I saw the streets and all I had was a metre of floor between me and the street...

I had three young boys help me and we were just going over rubble and it was unsteady and we all went in to the middle of this small piazza.
But all you saw when you were standing in the piazza was the facades of buildings but then behind there was nothing. The entire centre of the buildings had just caved in."

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JOURNALIST VITTORIO PERFETTO, IN IL CENTRO NEWSPAPER

"This morning we were woken by an extremely powerful earthquake, by the collapse, everything was collapsing around us, furniture, everything...

We ran down the stairs with everything falling around us. My son is 15 and my daughter 24, they were both in their rooms. The stairs were blocked with the furniture that had fallen.

We had to escape quickly, without our shoes on. When we got downstairs it was already covered with rubble.

It was a miracle. Then when we got out onto the street we were hurrying, there's a courtyard on one side and we were scared that [the building] would fall on us.

Then when we were out in the street there was another very strong quake and we risked being hit by things falling from the roof, by bricks, everything was falling.

We managed to run for 50 or 60m miraculously among all the falling debris.

Then we gathered in a little piazza, there were other people too, in front of a church from which all of the top part of the facade had collapsed.

The same half of another church nearby from the 13th or 14th Century had also come down.

Next to my house a family remained underneath [the rubble]. We don't know what's happened. The firemen are there but they haven't given any sign of life… there were three women but they won't make it, there was too much rubble and even the firemen weren't able to get in."

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GUIDO MARIANI, IN LA REPUBBLICA NEWSPAPER

"I was left for three hours under the rubble. I wasn't able to free myself.

Luckily two beams prevented the wall from collapsing around me.

The rescue teams arrived after more than three hours. This is a city that is full of barracks but it was citizens who pulled me out with their bare hands.

I was shouting for help. I could hear my mobile phone ringing but I could not get to it.

Finally there was a small opening, hands reached out, they grabbed me and I got out.

In the block where I live there were about 20 flats. I don't know how many people are still there underneath."

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ANNA-MARIA SPENNATI, SPEAKING TO THE BBC

"The whole house just moved.

I live in an apartment and by the time I got out of bed the stairwell had collapsed so we had problems getting out and you can imagine the total panic…

There's a lot of old buildings here and I think they're the ones that got damaged the most…

We can't get to the centre of the city. We're just sitting in the car and waiting... just waiting because the tremors keep coming every half an hour."


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ZippyTheChimp
April 6th, 2009, 10:13 AM
Fab?

Jasonik
April 6th, 2009, 12:31 PM
Italy muzzled scientist who foresaw earthquake; warning removed from Internet

RAW STORY
Published: Monday April 6, 2009 (http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Italy_quake_kills_92_devastates_historic_0406.html )

Italy quake kills 92, devastates historic town

A powerful earthquake tore through central Italy on Monday killing more than 90 people as Renaissance buildings in a historic town were reduced to rubble.

The quake hadn't been completely unexpected. Italy muzzled a scientist who foresaw it.

"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," Gavin Jones reports for Reuters (http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L6566682.htm).

Jones adds, "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."

The Telegraph reports (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/5114139/Italian-earthquake-experts-warnings-were-dismissed-as-scaremongering.html) he also "posted a video on YouTube in which he said a build-up of radon gas around the seismically active area suggested a major earthquake was imminent."

A New York Times blog report (http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/06/earthquake-warning-was-removed-from-internet/) notes, "The Italian version of PC World has an article about Mr. Giuliani’s warning (http://www.pcworld.it/showPage.php?template=attualita&id=9028&sez=in&masterPage=art_sezione_x.htm), featuring an interview with him posted on YouTube, in which he repeated the prediction just a few days before the quake struck."

Rescue workers quoted by the Italian media, said the provisional death toll had risen to 92, updating an earlier toll of 50 dead, while officials said more than 1,500 people had been injured in the deadly quake.

Hundreds of rescuer workers scrambled to find victims trapped under collapsed homes in L'Aquila, which bore the brunt of the quake, and officials warned the toll would rise.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency and cancelled a trip to Russia so he could go to the city, the capital of the Abruzzo region, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Rome.

The quake struck just after 3:30 am (0130 GMT) and lasted about 30 seconds, bringing down many Renaissance era and Baroque buildings, including the dome on one of the hundreds of years old churches in L'Aquila. The city's cathedral was also damaged.

Roofs caved in on sleeping inhabitants and boulders fell off mountain slopes blocking many roads. At least five children were among the dead in L'Aquila, according to police quoted by ANSA news agency.

The quake measured magnitude 6.2, according to the Italian geophysical institute.

http://i.livescience.com/images/090606-quake-map-02.jpg

The epicentre was only five kilometres (three miles) directly below L'Aquila which explained the heavy damage that was inflicted up to 30 kilometres away in all directions.

Sirens blared across the city as rescue workers with dogs raced to find survivors. Many of the 60,000 residents fled into the streets as more than a dozen aftershocks rattled the buildings.

Some even left L'Aquila by foot with belongings in suitcases leaving behind the historic buildings with badly cracked walls and debris strewn across the streets.

Rescue workers pulled several people alive out of one four-storey building and said they could hear the cries of one woman still trapped. They planned to try to lift the roof with a giant crane.

Doctors treated people in the open air outside L'Aquila's main hospital as only one operating room was functioning.

L'Aquila resident Maria Francesco said: "It was the apocalypse, our house collapsed. It's destroyed, and there's nothing left to recover."

"It's a scandal what's happened," she told AFP. "For the past three months there have been regular tremors, and they've been getting stronger and stronger!"

Luigi D'Andrea, a student, was asleep when the quake struck. "Everything shook really hard and bricks started falling on me. Then it was an entire wall that collapsed in my bedroom, then a second."

He escaped through a neighbour's flat and returned to recover his computer. "I'm very lucky I wasn't hurt, but now I don't know what to do, whether I should leave here or not. I'll wait and see."

L'Aquila suffered the biggest toll. Other dead were reported in the surrounding towns and villages of Castelnuovo, Poggio Picenze, Tormintarte, Fossa, Totani and Villa Sant'Angelo, said police quoted by ANSA.

US President Barack Obama, in Turkey as part of a landmark European tour, expressed concern. "We want to send our condolences to the families there and hope that we are able to get rescue teams in," Obama told a press conference.

Pope Benedict XVI was praying for the victims, the Vatican said. But Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's public safety department, warned the toll would rise.

"It's an event that will mobilise the nation for many weeks," he said, adding that at least 10,000 homes or buildings had been damaged in the quake.

Some 15,000 people suffered a power outage and the L'Aquila to Rome highway was closed.

The quake came about five hours after a 4.6-magnitude tremor shook the Ravenna district in Emilia-Romagna region, which was felt over a wide area, notably in the Marche region on the Adriatic coast, officials said.

A powerful earthquake in the region claimed 13 lives in 1997 and damaged or destroyed priceless cultural heritage.

Italy is criss-crossed by two fault lines, making it one of Europe's most quake-vulnerable regions, with some 20 million people at risk.

An October 2002 quake killed 30 people including 27 pupils and their teacher who were crushed under their schoolhouse in the tiny medieval village of San Giuliano di Puglia.

On November 23, 1980, a violent quake struck the southern region of Irpiona near Naples, killing 2,570, injuring 8,850 and displacing 30,000.

(with wire reports, including AFP)

The following video was posted by L'Aquila at YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WieaAPrQEN4&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.pcworld.it%2FshowPage.php%3F template%3Dattualita%26id%3D9028%26sez%3Din%26mast erPage%3Dart_sezione_x.htm&feature=player_embedded).

ZippyTheChimp
April 6th, 2009, 12:47 PM
This happens a lot.

Even a popular film plot - the hysterical sky-is-falling scientist gets ignored by everyone.

Fabrizio
April 6th, 2009, 12:54 PM
When this happens here it's not just a human tragedy but it is also a loss of architectural and artistic treasures that belong to the world.

I did not know this earthquake had happened until later this morning, but funny thing is, I had felt a slight vibration the other night while working in this underground office... and so earthquakes were on my mind. Tuscany gets lots of tremors but full-out earthquakes are rare.... however if one should strike while I'm at work, I'm a goner. This building has been standing here since the 300s... so it would be just my luck.

Jasonik
April 6th, 2009, 12:56 PM
http://www.perdonanza.it/images/laquila.jpg

A wall of the 13th-century Santa Maria di Collemaggio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S._Maria_di_Collemaggio) church collapsed and the bell tower of the Renaissance San Bernardino (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:L%27Aquila_55.jpg) church also fell in L'Aquila (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L'Aquila)'s historic center (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Piazza_duomo_aerea.JPG), according to the Associated Press.

Some nice (pre-quake) photos here (http://tobe2.blogspot.com/2007/08/laquila.html).

Ninjahedge
April 6th, 2009, 01:56 PM
That's the problem with historical design.

It is like, in this world, you can get the most beautiful deathtrap or the sturdiest sh!thouse on the block.

Not much in between.


I wonder if any Gargoyles were injured........

ablarc
April 6th, 2009, 06:15 PM
Sad for the people, sad for the architecture.

stache
April 6th, 2009, 08:57 PM
6.2 is a big one. :(

Alonzo-ny
April 8th, 2009, 05:17 AM
There was an aftershock of 5.8 yesterday.

stache
April 8th, 2009, 06:44 AM
Also quite large. :(

scumonkey
April 8th, 2009, 12:32 PM
Size Queen ;):D

stache
April 8th, 2009, 08:09 PM
Only one thing worse than a size queen -