Psychological support experts from the Red Cross are on the ground in central Italy as thousands of people come to terms with the third strong earthquake in four days.
The 6.5 magnitude quake – the strongest since 1986 - struck on Sunday 30 October, just four days after a double quake on Wednesday in the same region, which damaged or destroyed dozens of buildings. More than 40,000 people have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the three earthquakes across the Umbria and Marche regions.
Giovanni Casoni, branch president of the Red Cross in Visso town, said: “When the earth started to shake, we ran outside our headquarters and we couldn’t even see each other because of the huge cloud of dust caused by buildings collapsing.
“This is a very difficult time for our communities – people are terrified, they don’t know what will happen next, and many people can’t return home. This is why our psychosocial support volunteers are so important.”
More than 300 volunteers and 85 Red Cross ambulances and emergency vehicles have been sent to the worst-hit areas. Five field medical posts have been set up and mobile kitchens are providing about 1,200 meals per day to evacuees.
Italian Red Cross president Francesco Rocca paid tribute to volunteers who have been working within the earthquake zone throughout the emergency.
“I thank all of our volunteers who are on the ground ensuring people have support in these difficult times,” he said.
“We’ve had a lot of buildings collapse but fortunately no serious injuries reported so far.”
In Visso, the epicentre of Wednesday night’s quakes, the Red Cross branch continues to provide beds for 100 people who cannot return to their homes.
This week’s three earthquakes follow 24 August’s major quake which killed almost 300 people in and around the Lazio region of central Italy.
By Nichola Jones, IFRC