Several days after Italy was rocked by a massive, 6.2 scale earthquake, the country continues to search for missing people. So far many have been rescued, but over 290 people from smaller towns such as Amatrice and Arquata have been found dead. As the days continue to pass, rescue teams are worried the death toll will only continue to rise.
The town of Arquata held a mass funeral for 35 victims over the weekend. During the funeral, many citizens were overcome with grief over the loss of the individuals, many of whom were strangers. Tragedies often have a way of bringing people together, making them feel deeply for neighbors they have never even known.
The Prime Minister and the President of Italy attended the funeral as they made their way through the affected towns. For the people of Arquata, though there is grief, there also seems to be a shred of hope. Bishop Giovanni D’ercole attended the funeral and was quoted as saying, “Together, above all we will restore life to our communities, starting from our traditions and from the rubble of death.”
Relief teams, sent by the Italian government, are working quickly to provide temporary safe homes for the thousands who have lost their homes. The homes will hopefully be sturdy and warm enough to keep people safe and comfortable through the quickly approaching winter months. Government officials are hopeful that the rebuilding process for these villages and towns will move swiftly and the lives of Italy’s citizens will return to normal.
This quick response from Italy’s government has not satisfied everyone. In 2009, a huge earthquake devastated the town of L’Aquila and left a death toll of over 300. The Italian government has come under fire for failing to increase security measures and housing standards after 2009. While this is the case, historically recognized towns in Italy are not required to meet modern safety laws and it is mostly these old stone villages that are being hit by the earthquakes.
Nevertheless, the residents of L’Aquila are wondering where this quick response was after their tragic event. Seven years later, over 22,000 of the 70,000 displaced in 2009 are still unable to return to their neighborhoods. The historic town center which is supposed to house many of the displaced, has no completion date in sight, leaving thousands living in temporary housing outside of the city. For the people of L’Aquila, life never really returned back to normal and many are dissatisfied with their treatment by the Italian government. With money and resources being redirected towards towns like Amatrice and Arquata, who knows how long L’Aquila and other towns will have to remain in limbo.
Whether or not relief comes quickly or not, citizens of Italy aren’t likely to forget these earthquakes any time soon. A Polish nun who managed to escape from the rubble of a convent near Amatrice told reporters that she would always remember the “evil murmur” of the earthquake as it began to shake her home.
Join us as we pray for Italy. Pray for it’s infrastructure, its government, and its people as they mourn and attempt to rebuild.
As all this was happening across the world, our own state of Louisiana has been hit by the worst flooding it’s seen in years. So many have lost their homes and have lost family and friends. The floods are a sharp reminder that such disasters don’t just happen in places far away from us. They can come to our own front doors. Thankfully, we need not be afraid. We serve a God who knows all things and who has neither forgotten nor forsaken us. We can have peace in the midst of literal storms because we know He is with us and He is for us. The Bible promises us this and you have probably seen it played out at some point in your own life.
So as we pray for those who are suffering, let us also give thanks for His work in our lives and in the lives of people around the world!
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