On October 30th, 2016, central Italy was hit by a powerful earthquake with a startling magnitude of 6.6 (some reports say 6.5), making it the strongest earthquake to hit Italy in 36 years. Closest t0 the epicentre was the ancient city Norcia, but the earthquake could be felt as far away as Bolzano, in northern Italy, and Rome and Puglia, in the south, according to Italian news reports. Norcia was also heavily impacted by the deadly earthquake in August of 2016 and had a pair of aftershocks last week. Thankfully, no lives were taken in this earthquake, as most towns in the area were already evacuated after the recent seismic activity. There are 20 injured, but nothing serious has been reported.
Italy’s Premier, Matteo Renzi, proclaimed that wrecked homes, churches and businesses will rise again, as the government last week earmarked 40 million euros for the rebuilding:
“We will rebuild everything; we are dealing with marvellous territories, territories of beauty.”
Of the buildings destroyed, the wreckage includes the renowned and prolific church, Norcia’s 14th century St. Benedict’s Cathedral. 3000 people are temporarily homeless, according to the National Civil Protection agency.
“As far as people are concerned, the situation is positive but many buildings are in a critical state in historic centres and there are problems with electricity and water supplies,” agency head, Fabrizio Curcio told reporters.
“It’s as if the whole city fell down,” Norcia City Assessor Giuseppina Perla told the ANSA news agency. The city’s ancient walls suffered damage, as did another famous Norcia church, St. Mary Argentina, known for its 15th-century frescoes.
Pope Francis expressed his sympathy for the towns affected by the earthquake and its citizens: “I express my closeness to the central Italy earthquake victims, even this morning there was a strong shock. I pray for the injured and for the families that have suffered major damage, as well as for the personnel involved in rescue and assistance.The Risen Lord give them strength and Our Lady guard them.”