The earthquake in Central Italy

Amatrice, Rieti - Squadre impegnate in attività di ricerca e soccorso dopo il terremoto del 24 agosto 2016

On August 24, 2016, at 3:36 a.m., an earthquake of magnitude 6.0 struck central Italy, affecting Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche, and Umbria. The earthquake caused 299 deaths, injuries, and severe damage to the territory.

On August 28, the Directorate of Command and Control was established in Rieti to coordinate emergency management activities following a meeting of the Operational Committee led by the Head of the Civil Protection Department.

New violent earthquakes hit Central Italy on October 26 and 30, particularly on the border between Umbria and Marche. The earthquake on October 30 was the strongest in Italy in thirty years, measuring a magnitude of 6.5. Although the number of people left homeless and the extent of damage increased significantly, there were no reported deaths.

Activities in the affected territories ranged from providing assistance to the population to checking the damage to houses, artistic-cultural heritage, and public buildings, from finding alternative housing solutions to supporting livestock activities, from monitoring the implementation of Emergency housing solutions to interventions for the restoration and safety of the road network.

In the second half of January 2017, while activities related to the earthquake emergency continued, the Civil Protection System faced an exceptional wave of bad weather across Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche, and Umbria. The interventions required were numerous and complex, ranging from rescuing people stranded in isolated villages to restoring roads, infrastructure, and essential services greatly affected by the snowfall.

The System was already severely tested when, on January 18, four earthquakes of magnitude greater than 5.0 struck again in Central Italy, particularly Lazio and Abruzzo. Shortly after the earthquakes, an avalanche hit and destroyed the Hotel Rigopiano in the province of Pescara, located on the slopes of the Gran Sasso mountain. Search and rescue operations continued for eight days and nights without any interruption, resulting in the successful rescue of 11 individuals. Unfortunately, the January events claimed 34 lives, 29 of them in Rigopiano.

Photo: Search and rescue activities in Amatrice (Rieti) following the August 24, 2016 earthquake