On 6 April 2009 an earthquake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale struck the L'Aquila region of central Italy.
279 people are known to have died and more than 2,000 were injured as homes and buildings were reduced to rubble. 26 towns and villages were affected, with several small villages completely destroyed.
40,000 people lost their homes in L'Aquila and a week on many people are still living in tents. According to government surveys one third of the buildings in L'Aquila have been seriously damaged or destroyed. These include homes, hospitals, churches and schools. A series of strong aftershocks has hampered people's ability to return to their homes.
It is predicted that schools will remain closed until the end of the year and students will have to continue their classes in tents.
Death and devastation
“The earthquake destroyed everything; universities, schools, hospitals and clinics which is affecting the provision of essential services,” said Paulo Gonzaga, Director of Islamic Relief Italy. “People have lost their homes and are living in tents and they desperately need more help.”
“Even now we can feel many aftershocks every day. People are shocked by what they have experienced and are still coming to terms with the death and devastation.”
Islamic Relief Italy has established an operation in the camp for displaced people in Onna, a village of 300 houses that was completely destroyed by the earthquake.
On 8 April Islamic Relief began distributions, providing 800 people in Montecchio and a further 1,000 in Abagno and L’Aquila with food, clothing, blankets and hygiene kits. We carried out a second distribution of food aid on 11 April in Abruzzo.
Islamic Relief is now working with the Catholic association, Le Misericordie, and hopes to provide support to children affected by the disaster in Abruzzo.
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