Monday, July 18, 2011


Last night I experienced my first Italian earthquake. According to the Corriere della Sera the quake I felt was 4.7 on the Richter scale. Last night it was unclear where the epicentre was, but it appears to have been somewhere between the provinces of Rovigo and Mantova, over in the north east. The earthquake was felt over a large part of northern Italy - Lombardy, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna, and even as far up as Trentino-Alto Adige. No major damage or injuries have been reported, but travel on train lines was disrupted, with several trains from Verona cancelled.

I was at home, luckily, and clearly felt the earthquake. I'd only experienced one earthquake previously, in the Midlands in February 2008,  which was stronger than yesterday's (5.3 magnitude). Even though I wasn't sure it was actually an earthquake as it was weak, I was quite scared. I took to Twitter to find out what was happening.

It took the traditional media some time to catch up on the earthquake, but by then the news was all over Twitter. Not long after the quake I turned the TV on and started watching Rai News, but by 11pm I hadn't heard a thing about it!

Here is a map that has been created which shows the areas where the earthquake was felt. The red star is the epicentre, the pink dots show where it was felt, green by 'some' and the blue dots are where people reported that they did not feel anything.

Of course when things like this happen, people start thinking about the earthquakes of the past. The one that came to my mind was the Aquila earthquake, which happened on the 6th of April 2009; just over 5 months into my stay in Italy. At the time I didn't realise how serious it was, or how long the effects of the earthquake would be felt for. 308 people lost their lives as a result of that earthquake. Around 65,000 were made homeless, many temporarily living in the 'tendopoli', the tent 'cities' around Aquila. Thousands are still homeless, many in accommodation provided by the government, and there are still tons of rubble in the streets. Unfortunately (and sadly not surprising) it's hardly mentioned in the press any more, even though there is still a lot of work to be done and a lot of help needed.

Last night only minor damage was reported, the worst being part of a church tower near Mantova collapsing and falling on some cars. So we were lucky. But I can't help but wonder about what could have happened had it been worse.

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