“The beginning of a long Calvary”

A man walks on debris as he looks for his relatives after an earthquake in L'Aquila

A man walks on debris as he looks for his relatives after an earthquake, in downtown Aquila April 6, 2009. A powerful earthquake struck a huge swathe of central Italy as residents slept on Monday morning, killing at least 16 people when houses, churches and other buildings collapsed, officials said. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi

By Don Andrea La Regina – Caritas Italiana Driving up to L’Aquila, we saw towns that had been flattened. This earthquake has brought people to their knees. There was another strong tremor this morning and people are filled with anxiety as they don’t know what’s going to happen or who to turn to.

I’m up here with Fr Vittorio Nozza, Secretary General of Caritas Italiana, and some other colleagues. We’ve been talking to the bishop of the area and representatives of the local Caritas about what our plan of action will be.

At the moment, we’re helping coordinate. There have been people ringing from abroad offering help, so we have been fielding these calls. Abruzzo is an area from where many people emigrate abroad, and these people have also been calling Caritas Italiana. We’ve started giving people psychological support.

As I said, everyone is very anxious and they need to feel as though someone is there for them. On Easter Sunday, Fr Nozza and I plan to celebrate Mass with the people who’ve been affected in the area. We’re hoping this will help people feel as though they’re not alone and that they’re all in this together. In disasters like this, it’s very important not only to rebuild houses, but also to rebuild the community spirit.

We’re trying to help create a sense of community in places where people are gathered together in shelters. When people are hit by a disaster such as this, it is very easy for them to just focus on their own needs rather than the general good.

I think the real problem will come in a few days when the attention of the world’s media will no longer be on L’Aquila. It’s then that people will have to start rebuilding their homes and their lives. With this latest tremor this morning, people are very worried about their future. For them, this is the beginning of a long Calvary.

Donate to Caritas emergency fund for the L’Aquila earthquake.

1 Comment

Filed under Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Europe, Italy

One response to ““The beginning of a long Calvary”

  1. MICONI

    When I read on Internet, there was a awful earthquake around Aquila’s city, I was sad for people who had destroyed houses. Let’s help them. Let’s be courageous, we are united with you. We won’t forget and you won’t be alone in your sadness. Let’ pray Jesus and Virgin Mary bless you.

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