Landschlacht, Switzerland, 26 August 2016
The village of Amatrice is no more.
The villages of Pescara del Tronto and Accumoli lie in ruins.
An earthquake, measuring 6.2, hit central Italy two days ago (24 August 2016) at 03:36:32.
Its epicentre was close to the town of Norcia, the birthplace of St. Benedict, 75 km (47 miles) southeast of Perugia, 45 km (28 miles) north of L’Aquila.
According to Italian authorities, there are estimates of 250 people dead and 360 people injured, and at least 120 bodies have been recovered from the rubble.
The number of missing remains unclear, for there have been seasonal workers from Romania as well as tourists from around the world.
According to Canada´s Global News, at least one Canadian is dead and another seriously injured in this earthquake.
Meanwhile thousands are without shelter.
Of the 3,400 beds provided by the Civil Protection Department, at least 1,200 have been occupied.
Those who could leave Amatrice, have left finding refuge with relatives.
Camps have been set up and tents house 8 to 12 people each.
The area is known for its clean air and pristine scenery and is a base for mountaineering and hiking.
It is the land of the wild boar and it is one of the most seismically sensitive regions on the Italian peninsula.
Sergio Pirozzi, the mayor of Amatrice, stated that “Amatrice is not here anymore, half of the town is destroyed.”
The town centre is nothing but a massive pile of rubble.
Only a few structures still stand on the outskirts.
The facade and the rose window of the church of Sant´Agostino no longer exist.
The museum dedicated to the painter Nicola Filotesio, student and companion of Raphael, has collapsed.
The tremor and the aftershocks that followed were felt across the whole of central Italy from Rimini to Napoli, including in Roma and Firenze.
There are cracks in the Baths of Carcalla in Roma and the authorities worry about the Colosseum.
The West has felt the earthquake, for it has happened in the West, has been relentlessly reported by Western media.
Ground Zero, One World Trade Center, New York City, is lit in the colours of the Italian flag: green, white and red.
And though hope dims for finding survivors in the rubble of this quake, the feeling of community has not been diminished.
Across Amatrice, volunteers have collected clothing, blankets, toiletries and food, donated by individuals and institutions throughout Italy.
“We´ve seen incredible solidarity, closeness, love, help from all of Italy. It makes me proud to be Italian.“(Amatrice deputy mayor Carloni)
Amid the destruction, there remains glimmers of hope, for though the earth may shake, humanity´s will is not shaken, for the dead will be buried and mourned, homes will be rebuilt and institutions will function once more.
Since reunification in 1861, Italy has seen 35 major earthquakes and 86 smaller ones.
Amatrice is not the first nor the last.
Italy will prevail.
(Sources: CNN, the Independent, the Times)
Above: World Trade Center, New York City
Above: Amatrice, Italy