Church Responds to Quake in Italy

“Church Responds to Quake in Italy,” Liahona, August 2009, N6–N7

Disaster Response

Church Responds to Quake in Italy

Within hours of a major 6.3 magnitude earthquake, members of the Rome Italy Stake were organizing to provide food and hygiene items for the Italian Red Cross and shelter for those affected, and the Church had arranged to send fast offering funds to local Church leaders in L’Aquila, Italy, and surrounding areas. Local leaders formed an earthquake committee to provide temporal, emotional, medical, and spiritual support to members whom the earthquake affected.

At least 281 people died in the quake and multiple aftershocks on April 6 and 7, 2009. Towns and villages surrounding L’Aquila, Castelnuovo, Poggio Picenze, Torminatarte, Fossa, Totiani, and Villa Sant’Angelo reported deaths. Many people in Rome, which is about 55 miles (88 km) southeast of L’Aquila, felt the earthquake.

Rescue workers dug through debris, many with their hands, searching for survivors in the rubble. Close to 28,000 people were believed to be homeless.

Within two hours of the earthquake, local leaders accounted for the safety of all Church members and missionaries. L’Aquila has a branch with 25 to 30 active members. The Church received reports that four families of members in the branch had lost their homes. The earthquakes destroyed the L’Aquila meetinghouse.

The main earthquake, which occurred at 3:32 a.m. on April 6, demolished many of the historic buildings in the city as well.

The main hospital in L’Aquila was evacuated after the earthquake because of structural problems. Phone and power lines in the city shut down. Some bridges and roads closed as a precaution because of the series of aftershocks, one of which was a 5.6 magnitude.