Late on Tuesday evening, another powerful aftershock, measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale, shook the Abruzzo province, adding to the destruction caused by this week’s series of deadly tremors in central Italy.
Firefighters carry a body found in the rubble of a collapsed house after an earthquake in Aquila on April 7, 2019. REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito
Felt as far away as the Italian Red Cross headquarters in Rome, the aftershocks have added to the work of the more than 400 volunteers now working in the region.
Government reports suggest that the original 6.3-magnitude quake which rattled the medieval town of L’Aquila on April 6 caused the deaths of 260 people and left more than 1,000 injured and in need of medical care.
Doctors and nurses volunteering with the Red Cross are providing care at four advanced medical posts – two in the city of L’Aquila and two in the neighboring villages of Paganica and Piazza. Workers at two additional first aid tents are helping to care for minor injuries, such as scratches and bruises caused when debris was loosened by the aftershocks.
In one day, the Italian Red Cross rendered aid for more than 300 wounded patients.
Rescuers stand on a destroyed house a day after an earthquake struck the Italian village of Onna. Rescuers used mechanical diggers and their bare hands to search through the night Tuesday for survivors. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
With the help of 20 dogs units, the Italian Red Cross is also playing an integral role in rescuing those still trapped beneath the crushed buildings. More than 35 ambulances, staffed by Red Cross medical teams, continue to evacuate the injured from L’Aquila to the hospitals in the nearby villages of Tagliacozzo, Pescina and Avezzano. Some of these emergency responders are also watching over 12 children evacuated from an orphanage in San Gregorio until a more permanent guardian can be identified.
With the threat of additional aftershocks, ensuring the safety of the approximately 28,000 people who are now homeless remains among the pressing priorities of the Italian Red Cross.
Volunteers have set up two camps in the neighboring villages of Sangrigorio and Paganica and helped to distribute family tents, beds and more than 10,000 blankets before nightfall.
A fifth mobile kitchen has been erected and will deliver warm meals to the people who spent a chilly night in these make-shift camps without heat. Immediately after the first quake, the Italian Red Cross brought in mobile kitchens to help feed, on average, 22,000 survivors, rescue workers and medical staff each day.
Aerial view of a tent camp in Paganica, near L'Aquila, on April 7, 2019. Rescuers worked under floodlights through the night and thousands of people whose homes were wrecked sheltered in tents and cars. REUTERS/Max Rossi
In addition to more volunteers and feeding equipment, an Italian Red Cross convoy also delivered a bulldozer, four-wheel drive ambulance, light poles, toilets and other logistical equipment to support the rescue and relief efforts.
Italian Red Cross volunteers, working among piles of concrete and crowds of people now homeless, expect survivors will need support long after the tremors stop.
The American Red Cross has received many generous offers from the U.S. citizens, including those already in the region on vacation and others who wish to travel and assist in the relief efforts. While we are grateful for the support of compassionate individuals who offer to help people in their time of need at home and around the world, the Italian Red Cross has not asked for international assistance in the form of volunteers.
Since 1968 the International Federation and member National Societies have supported the Italian Red Cross three times after earthquakes in 1968, 1976 and in 1980. In 1980 some 3,000 people lost their lives after a deadly quake hit the region of Naples. In 1992 a quake in Umbria claimed 13 lives and countless cultural treasures. The most recent deadly quake was in 2002 when 30 people died, including 27 pupils and their teacher, in the southern Italian town of San Giuliano di Puglia.
An entrance hall in a destroyed house is seen the morning after an earthquake struck the Italian village of Onna. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
You can help the victims of countless crises around the world each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross International Response Fund, which will provide immediate relief and long-term support through supplies, technical assistance and other support to help those in need. The American Red Cross honors donor intent. If you wish to designate your donation to a specific disaster, please do so at the time of your donation by mailing your donation with the designation to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243 , Washington, D.C. 20013 or to your local American Red Cross chapter. Donations to the International Response Fund can be made by phone at 1-800-REDCROSS or 1-800-257-7575 (Spanish) or online at www.redcross.org.