Where: Rome, Italy
April 6, 2009 : A powerful earthquake rocked the mountainous Abruzzo region of central Italy in the early hours of April 6, 2009 (3.32am local time). Over 150 people were killed and 1,500 were injured. The number of people who may be trapped alive could not be estimated. Thousands of rescue workers searched for survivors. Some 24 hours after the disaster struck, they began losing hopes of finding any more.
Most of the deaths took place in L’Aquila, a 13th century mountain city close to the epicentre of the earthquake. Surrounding towns and villages were also badly hit. Most of the stone buildings in the region were centuries old and collapsed quickly. Around 50,000 people lost their homes.The need for shelter became an important factor, as temperatures were in the region of 5 degrees C. Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared a national emergency.
Some weeks before the disaster, an Italian scientist had predicted a major quake around L’Aquila. This was the most deadly earthquake to hit Italy in decades. It occured at a depth of 10 kilometers below the earth’s surface, and its magnitude was between 5.8 and 6.3 on the Richter Scale. A survivor told a television news channel that it “sounded as if a 747 jet was actually coming in to land.”