Nearly 250 medium-strength or greater earthquakes have hit Italy since the massive Aug. 24 quake that killed nearly 300 people in and around the town of Amatrice.
The more recent series of earthquakes have leveled medieval villages, including homes, churches, public buildings and monuments. And more damage may be on the way, since an earthquake can weaken a nearby fault, making it rupture and causing a new earthquake. The resulting domino effect can last months or longer, particularly in an area like Italy’s Apennine Mountains, running down most of the Italian peninsula, .dense with fault lines.
It is nearly impossible to determine when an earthquake will strike or how long its aftershocks will last. Improved building standards and evacuation plans have reduced the death tolls in recent years, but the impact is still devastating. Since August, more than 150,000 Italians have been forced from their homes by earthquakes and aftershocks. And countless historical and cultural riches have been destroyed or severely damaged.
(Italy has a long and tortured history with tremors: ancient Rome was periodically devastated by earthquakes. The deadliest quake in the modern era struck the city of Reggio Calabria in 1908, killing more than 100,000.)
Hurt, alone and feeling pain,
Wondering if I will see my family again.
No job, no home, nothing left,
People are even turning to theft.
Total destruction, all through the land,
Hoping someone will take my hand
and rescue me from this world of sorrow,
Make things better for tomorrow.
Thinking about what the future holds,
Trying to find courage, be brave and bold.
And asking myself, as I lie here,
My body numb, my mind unclear,
Why this tragedy happened today,
and made all happiness go away.
Lives were taken, loved ones killed,
People’s empty hearts will never be filled.
Survivors will live to tell this tale,
But others into eternal peace will sail.
Shook and shake,
Beneath the Earth,
Strikes and slips,
Will it halt?
What will happen,
To the fault?
Shook and shake,