Devastating Earthquake in Italy: DHS Reacts

On  Wednesday, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake rocked several towns in central Italy without warning. In the span of a mere twenty seconds, entire blocks of residences were leveled, leaving hundreds of people buried under the rubble. The death toll currently numbers a heartbreaking 250 people, with at least 368 more injured. The towns of Accumoli, Amatrice, Pescara del Tronto, and Arquata del Tronto were closest to the epicenter and hit the hardest.

However, Mother Nature was not done just yet; the earthquake was followed by more than 200 aftershocks, some even reaching  a magnitude of 4.7.

Survivors of the quake were greeted by horrifying scenes of death and devastation.

“I saw dead bodies lying in the street, and there were injured people walking around with blood on their legs and the rest of their bodies,” said Gianni Palotta, who had driven to Accumoli to help victims of the quake.

A Polish woman and her 4-year-old son narrowly escaped their house through her balcony. “I will remember till the end of my life this noise, the evil murmur of moving walls.”

“We have lost our house. So many friends and family are dead. We have lost everything, even our fear,” said one survivor from Amatrice.

Many tourists and visitors were among those hurt, including students studying abroad. Collin Wellman, a graduate of Dublin High School studying abroad in Siena, was lucky to have been a safe 150 miles away from the epicenter of the earthquake. He and others in the area fortunate enough to escape the effects of the catastrophic natural disaster were shocked by the overwhelming number of casualties.

However, the noble rescue efforts have been heartening, with more than 5,400 people (2,500 of them volunteers) fighting to save those trapped under the rubble. These brave souls have been working tirelessly to search for the dozens of people still missing, in some cases even using their bare hands to pry apart the heavy chunks of cement. Their efforts were especially rewarded when a 10-year-old girl was miraculously pulled from a pile of bricks and glass 17 hours after the quake. Many people nearby have generously volunteered to donate blood and bring blankets and supplies.

In addition, social media movements to raise money for victims of the earthquake, such as #EatForItaly, have taken off.

The BBC reports that in the historic town of Amatrice, three-quarters of the town had been destroyed. The residents of Amatrice and several other towns were told that no habitable residences remain, and spent the night huddling under tents provided by the emergency services.


Although their long term future remains uncertain, the survivors will have a chance to remember their dead during a mass funeral on Saturday, August 27.

What about here?

Although Dublin is within close proximity to both the Hayward Fault and the San Andreas Fault, the city has remained relatively unaffected by major quakes.

Nevertheless, Californians can very well expect an earth shaker in the near future. Earlier this May, a leading earthquake scientist claimed that the San Andreas Fault is “locked, loaded and ready to roll,” in a long-overdue release of pressure that has been steadily building for over a century. The looming threat of such a powerful earthquake puts greater emphasis on preparation and training for emergency procedures.


The Dublin Shield asked several DHS students how they felt about the earthquake.

Sophomore Kanti Bharat was reminded of a small quake she had experienced before. “I remember the last time I felt an earthquake, it was a small, sudden movement and I was dizzy for a couple of seconds,” she recalled. “Trying to imagine experiencing a magnitude 2 earthquake is difficult for many people, let alone 6.2.”

“I was pretty shocked; my sister recently returned to America from Italy due to overboard studies so I was pretty concerned for the welfare of her host family (and other civilians) when I heard about the earthquake,” commented freshman Marian Chen.

“The sheer loss of lives and property will surely have a huge impact on Italy, but at the same time I think that this event is something that can bring the country together,” mused one freshman. “When one city is in distress, the rest of the country will support them and help them back on their feet. I really believe that this was horrible and catastrophic in one way, but on the other hand, it can – and will – unite Italy and possibly the world.”