On Sunday the 20th of May, at 4:04 in the morning, l’Emilia Romagna was woken up by a violent terremoto (earthquake) measuring 5.9 magnitude on the Richter scale. During the quake, which lasted 20 seconds, six people died and several more were injured. Four of these victims were doing night shifts in the factories where they worked when the buildings collapsed upon them. Besides factories, the damage to both historical monuments and residential buildings is very severe, and hundreds of thousands of people are now living in tendopoli (tent cities) or sleeping in their cars because their houses are unsafe, or they are too scared to remain inside buildings. Since that first earthquake the earth hasn’t stopped shaking, with up to 70 quakes being recorded in a period of 24 hours.
This earthquake was a big surprise to most people here in Italy because l’Emilia Romagna is a very flat region which is traditionally considered a low risk seismic area.
Sopra: La Torre dell’Orologio di Finale Emilia, simbolo del terremoto del 20 maggio
This morning at 9:00 o’clock another strong quake took place, this time of 5.8 magnitude. In the small town of Cavezzo, near Modena which was particularly badly hit, 75 per cent of the buildings were damaged.
Ten more people have died, five of whom were at work in factories, whilst several more are believed to be trapped under collapsed buildings. The question I keep asking myself is ‘why are people still dying inside factories in an area that hasn’t stopped shaking for over a week. Is the production of commodities really worth risking people’s lives for?’
As I’m writing this blog one quake continues to follow another, bringing down many of the buildings that had already been badly damaged in last week’s disaster. Just a few moments ago, at 12:56 another violent and particularly long earthquake of magnitude 5.3 was registered. The death toll is now thought to have risen to 15. Everyone is outside … as far from buildings as possible.