26th October 2016, the ground starts shaking once again in Macerata, Italy, right after a big earthquake in Amatrice left the town and the villages close by completely destroyed earlier in the year, where over 200 people lost their lives blindsided by their own houses. At 5:11 pm that Wednesday the ground begins to oscillate again. Thousands of people run outside their homes praying the strength and the anger of the earth wouldn’t take their friends, family or their homes. But not everyone ran, when you find yourself in a situation like that it’s very easy to let fear take over you; Sarah is one of those people that when the ground started quaking couldn’t do anything but ‘stare with terror at the chandelier’.
7:18 pm – As the night goes on and the italian citizens are still too much in shock to go back to their homes, the ground fools them once again, they are not safe. This one is stronger, strong enough to destroy houses and churches. Strong enough to scare people to death as they are not prepared to what will come afterwards. What saved most of them was the ‘warning quake’ two hours earlier. ‘The fear won’t go away and anxiety rises, this night will be a nightmare’ writes a witness on Twitter. Ussita’s mayor calls the situation ‘apocalyptic’, because Italy is not prepared, they can’t prevent it, they can only hope it won’t happen to them or their homes. The whole of Italy already mobilised from the previous earthquake in August is now calling all available volunteers. The Civic protection is already working on setting up tent camps where people can safely sleep.
During the night people witness only minor quakes, as if the earth is trying to remind them they are not safe yet. Then while everyone is asleep and about to wake up, there comes the Apocalypse.
6:40 am – Once again the earth begins to oscillate, but the magnitude is stronger this time, the power of this one is what everyone was afraid of, houses start going down under the fury of the ground. People don’t know what to do anymore except try to save themselves. Norcia’s famous church that for years has attracted tourists does not exist anymore. This earthquake was thought to be more than magnitude 7 but experts lowered it to 6.5 after studying it closely.
15 thousand people, and counting, around centre Italy are now living on the streets because they are afraid it’s not over and they are right, almost every day an earthquake over 4.0 magnitude is registered. Italian PM confirms rumours, the ground is 70 cm lower than before. The tragic situation has stalled other national matters and brought everyone together. Italy is now united in the reconstruction of such a beautiful country. People are donating every day, everyone with a spare room is ready to host a less lucky fellow citizen. ‘Norcia is on its knees’ but we’ll help the town, and therefore the country, to stand up again.
– Written by Alessia Fabbioni