For those of you who me, you all know that Italy is part of me, part of my heart. The news of the tragic earthquake there this week is something most of you have heard about, too, I am sure. One of the many special sites that are linked to me here and on my author site is The Italian Notebook. Today, not surprisingly, the notebook featured news of the earthquake. This wonderful mailing comes out each weekday, and is free, so do drop by the site and subscribe. I'm going to repost today's note here, and I hope you will all say a prayer for those struggling through this horrible experience. The courage of these people is incredible, as their stories show. Thanks.
7 April , 2009
7 April , 2009
Show on map -- Abruzzo
Many of you have written and expressed solidarity with those whose lives have one way or another been dramatically affected by yesterday’s earthquake in Abruzzo. If you are interesting in contributing here are a few ways you can.
NIAF (National Italian American Foundation) has set up a fund for this purpose; Relief Fund.
Another option is through the Italian Red Cross: Croce Rossa Italiana.
Last night saw more aftershocks, freezing temps, and some rain which contributed to making the emergency work and relief efforts even more difficult. Nonetheless, upwards of 100 survivors have been extracted from the rubble thanks to the continuous efforts of the fire departments and rescue teams.
Relief efforts that also need to be pointed out include the temporary medical camps that have been created. One story involves A. who was in labor during the pre-shocks around midnight, and who three hours later when the main quake hit grabbed her newborn in one arm and her I-V drip in the other and b-lined it out of the hospital, now attended by the medical teams, safely in one of these camps.
Other efforts involve sheltering all the people whose homes were destroyed as well as those who can’t return until engineers determine whether their homes are condemned or livable. This is expected to take months. One new temporary camp resident, ninety year old Signora N., lost her entire home as it crumbled around her, blocking her in her bedroom for 30 hours until the rescue team managed to dig through this morning and pull her out. When asked how she kept calm and passed the time, she said “I sat in my bed and did crochet.” …30 hours.
While sad, it is important that psychological counseling too is already being offered to those need it. One cannot imagine what V. and his brother are going through after losing their elderly parents who came to visit them for the Easter holidays; their mother’s body was found shielding their disabled father’s body. This is only one of the many tragic stories that are slowly emerging in the aftermath of the earthquake.
It must however be pointed out that many Abruzzesi immediately began helping each other. As 75 year old N. said on his way to finally rest after 30 hours of helping others, “I was lucky. I only lost my house. Others lost much more. What else was I going to do?” This very pragmatic Abruzzese way of approaching hardship certainly explains how they have managed to already begin the enormous task of rebuilding their lives, towns, and communities.
That said, knowing that others around the world are close to them in facing this task is extremely important. And for this they already give thanks. Your help is truly appreciated.
Kind regards, ed.