Monday, April 6, 2009

Earthquake ROCKS Italian Province of L'Aquila

The Italian province of L'Aquila was hit with an earthquake at 3:32am this morning. The quake measured 6.3 on the Richter scale. It affected some 57 million residents in L’Aquila and the surrounding areas. Even as far as Rome—which is located approximately 80 miles (130 km) west of L'Aquila—felt the devastating effects. During early recovery efforts, Italian officials did not want to speculate on the amount of the dead. They reported 14 dead, but they realized that the amount was probably much higher. At this time reports estimate that there are more than 150 dead, and some 2,000 injured.

Many buildings that stood strong since the Middle Ages were toppled like blocks. Officials said approximately 15,000 buildings were either damaged or destroyed, including hospitals. L'Aquila Mayor Massimo Cialente said about 100,000 people were homeless, but did not make clear if he included the surrounding towns. There were a more than a dozen aftershocks. Rescue workers with dogs and cranes are sifting feverishly through the ruble to find survivors; holding up bed sheets to hide the dead bodies from the surrounding crowd.

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