Some of you have asked if I'm close to the site of the earthquake here in Italy and are wondering if me and mine are okay. We're fine. We live in the northern portion of the country, and haven't been affected. Some of you recall my excitement/fright last Christmas time when Reggio had its own little quake (5.4 on the Richter scale, lasting about 5 seconds - which felt much, much longer).
That was nothing.
The folks in and around L'Aquila are hurting in a big way. Many of the homes and buildings in that city were very, very old, and this was a big blow to absorb.
So they didn't.
Being a mountain town, L'Aquila doesn't have much room to shake and settle, and this is the end result. There is no way to predict such an event, and the first tremors around Midnight last night gave no real indication that such a powerful follow-up was in the works.
The tremor was 6.3 magnitude. It came at 3:30 a.m., while people, naturally, slept.
At the time I write this, more than 70 people are known dead, thousands injured and homeless. The Italian government has declared a state of emergency so as to free up money to get help to the people that need it most. It's not going to be easy.
That said, this is a country which has grown somewhat accustomed to the possibility of such events. Italy rests in an unstable area, geographically speaking. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are not uncommon, though not exactly a part of daily life, all over the country.
This is, as far as I know (and I admit I'm not exactly well-versed in Italian history), the largest disaster to strike here in nearly thirty years. In 1980, il Terremoto dell'Irpinia killed nearly 3000 people, injured 10,000 and left 300,000 homeless. That event was 6.8 on the Richter scale.
Keep today's victims in your thoughts, please. If you pray, I ask for your prayers. If you prefer to send positive thoughts, love, vibrations or what-have-you, by all means do.
If/When I have information on how others can help, I'll post it here.
Thank you for your thoughts, concerns and prayers.