Here are a number of quake-related stories that might interest you, especially since so many of you have asked how you can help the numerous survivors who lost their homes and everything they own and are now living in tent camps
HELPING THE BENEDICTINE MONKS
No email message today from the Benedictine Monks of Norcia, but they have updated their website to enable donations: https://en.nursia.org/earthquake/
As you know, the monks decided to transfer from Norcia – many parts of which are not considered safe – to Rome where they will spend some time with the Benedictines of Sant’ Anselm.
If the name Sant’Anselmo sounds familiar, this is the church from which the Holy Father and others process to nearby Santa Sabina basilica on Ash Wednesday to receive ashes.
CARITAS WORKING 24/7 IN QUAKE-STRICKEN ITALY
Caritas and Church volunteers have been providing food to rescue workers and people affected by Wednesday’s earthquake in central Italy, The quake struck on August 24 in the Rieti region causing severe damage and loss of life in the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto.
Andrea Piscopo of Caritas Marche said, “relief efforts in Arquata and Pescara del Tronto continued throughout the night. We had spent the whole day with the rescue workers and the survivors. Thanks to local church, youth and Caritas, it has been possible to provide food to them. It is hard to say what the concrete needs will be until the situation stabilizes.” Caritas Italy has allocated €100,000 for the initial intervention. Caritas offices have offered local accommodations for people forced from their homes and, where possible, is providing counseling and basic necessities.
Father Francesco Soddu, director of Caritas Italy will lead a team on Friday, August 26 to meet with the local Caritas staff and authorities to discuss the most immediate actions required and those needed for the medium and long-term. He said, “Caritas has been active since the first hours after the earthquake. We have made available €100,000 for the most pressing needs.”
Caritas Italy is asking supporters to contribute to its national appeal so that it can help communities rebuild. This appeal will be bolstered by a nationwide parish collection in Italy on September 18. Caritas national organizations from Germany and Croatia to Nepal have been offering their support.
As in the case of the earthquake that hit L’Aquila in 2009, Caritas will focus on putting towns and villages back together – ranging from social services, infrastructure and job creation.
Donations can be made through the Caritas Italy website:http://www.caritasitaliana.it/home_page_archivio/come_contribuire/00000041_Dona_ora.html
THE CARABINIERI BLUE HELMETS SENT TO AID RESCUERS
(ANSA) – Rome, August 25 – Carabinieri police have deployed 430 officers in earthquake-stricken central Italy, including 30 “monuments men” from Italy’s new cultural defense Blue Helmets who are assessing the extent of the damage to local monuments, officials said Thursday.
“The Blue Helmets have gone into action for the first time,” said Brigadier General Marco Minicucci, who added that the unit’s baptism of fire was supposed to be in the Syrian city of Palmyra, which has been destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists. In addition, the carabinieri force has deployed a special forensic unit for the identification of victims who have not been claimed by relatives. That unit also went into action in Thailand after a deadly 2004 tsunami.
The total of 430 officers “went in support of their colleagues stationed at Amatrice, Accumoli, and Arquata, who immediately turned out to aid the population as soon as the first earthquake hit at 03:36 (on Wednesday),” the general told a press conference.
The mountain villages of Amatrice, Accumoli, and Arquata were the hardest hit by the quake, which has flattened them and killed hundreds.
Some images of Amatrice, before and after:
A GOOD NEWS MOMENT; 8-YEAR OLD PULLED ALIVE FROM RUBBLE
(ANSA) – Pescara del Tronto, August 25 – A firefighter who pulled an eight-year-old girl out of the rubble alive in Pescara del Tronto on Wednesday evening said Thursday he hoped she would “forget everything.” “I hope Giorgia remembers little of this place, rather I hope she forgets everything,” Angelo Moroni told ANSA. “The joy was huge,” he said of the successful rescue effort that saw firefighters dig with their bare hands for hours.
Giorgia was extracted from the debris of her home 15 hours after the 6.2-magnitude earthquake in central Italy that left at least 241 people dead. Her 10-year-old sister was found dead beside her. The girls’ parents were both pulled out alive.
As soon as she was freed, Giorgia “asked to drink, she reacted well,” Moroni said. “At times like that you don’t think, you go on for hours without feeling thirst or tiredness. We were sure she was safe only when we put her on a stretcher and doctors carried her away. Then we exploded with joy for this great result.”
Pescara del Tronto in the central Marche region is a village that was one of the places worst affected by the earthquake.
THE UGLY SIDE OF THE QUAKE: LOOTERS
Police in earthquake-hit Amatrice are stepping up their efforts to control attempted looting on Thursday, after detaining a man with a rolling suitcase who was allegedly stealing from homes there, ANSA sources said. Sources said the man was nearly lynched by a crowd before police arrived, in a climate of increasingly high tension following similar episodes of suspected looting on Wednesday in which some suspects were detained and others were arrested.
An Afghan refugee was also detained and later released Wednesday after attempting to remove rubble from a home where two Afghan women had been buried, in an area that rescue workers hadn’t yet reached.