2009 L'Aquila earthquake
The 2009 L'Aquila earthquake occurred in the region of Abruzzo
Abruzzo is a region in Italy, its western border lying less than due east of Rome. Abruzzo borders the region of Marche to the north, Lazio to the west and south-west, Molise to the south-east, and the Adriatic Sea to the east...

, in central Italy. The main shock occurred at 3:32 local time (1:32 UTC) on 6 April 2009, and was rated 5.8 on the Richter scale and 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...

; its epicentre was near L'Aquila
L'Aquila is a city and comune in central Italy, both the capital city of the Abruzzo region and of the Province of L'Aquila. , it has a population of 73,150 inhabitants, but has a daily presence in the territory of 100,000 people for study, tertiary activities, jobs and tourism...

, the capital of Abruzzo, which together with surrounding villages suffered most damage. There have been several thousand foreshock
A foreshock is an earthquake that occurs before a larger seismic event and is related to it in both time and space. The designation of an earthquake as foreshock, mainshock or aftershock is only possible after the event....

s and aftershock
An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake, in the same area of the main shock. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock...

s since December 2008, more than thirty of which had a Richter magnitude greater than 3.5.

The earthquake was felt throughout central Italy; 308 people are known to have died, making this the deadliest earthquake to hit Italy since the 1980 Irpinia earthquake
1980 Irpinia earthquake
The 1980 Irpinia earthquake took place in the Irpinia region in Southern Italy on Sunday, November 23, 1980. Measuring 6.89 on the Richter Scale, the quake, centered on the village of Conza, killed 2,914 people, injured more than 10,000 and left 300,000 homeless. It is known in Italy as Terremoto...



This earthquake was caused by movement on a NW-SE trending normal fault according to moment tensor solutions. Although Italy lies in a tectonically
Tectonics is a field of study within geology concerned generally with the structures within the lithosphere of the Earth and particularly with the forces and movements that have operated in a region to create these structures.Tectonics is concerned with the orogenies and tectonic development of...

 complex region, the central part of the Apennines has been characterised by extensional tectonics
Extensional tectonics
Extensional tectonics is concerned with the structures formed, and the tectonic processes associated with, the stretching of the crust or lithosphere.-Deformation styles:...

 since the Pliocene
The Pliocene Epoch is the period in the geologic timescale that extends from 5.332 million to 2.588 million years before present. It is the second and youngest epoch of the Neogene Period in the Cenozoic Era. The Pliocene follows the Miocene Epoch and is followed by the Pleistocene Epoch...

 epoch (i.e. about the last 5 million years), with most of the active fault
Active fault
An active fault is a fault that is likely to have another earthquake sometime in the future. Faults are commonly considered to be active if there has been movement observed or evidence of seismic activity during the last 10,000 years....

s being normal in type and NW-SE trending. The extension is due to the back-arc basin
Back-arc basin
Back-arc basins are geologic features, submarine basins associated with island arcs and subduction zones.They are found at some convergent plate boundaries, presently concentrated in the Western Pacific ocean. Most of them result from tensional forces caused by oceanic trench rollback and the...

 in the Tyrrhenian Sea
Tyrrhenian Sea
The Tyrrhenian Sea is part of the Mediterranean Sea off the western coast of Italy.-Geography:The sea is bounded by Corsica and Sardinia , Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Calabria and Sicily ....

 opening faster than the African Plate
African Plate
The African Plate is a tectonic plate which includes the continent of Africa, as well as oceanic crust which lies between the continent and various surrounding ocean ridges.-Boundaries:...

 is colliding
Continental collision
Continental collision is a phenomenon of the plate tectonics of Earth that occurs at convergent boundaries. Continental collision is a variation on the fundamental process of subduction, whereby the subduction zone is destroyed, mountains produced, and two continents sutured together...

 with the Eurasian Plate
Eurasian Plate
The Eurasian Plate is a tectonic plate which includes most of the continent of Eurasia , with the notable exceptions of the Indian subcontinent, the Arabian subcontinent, and the area east of the Chersky Range in East Siberia...


The earthquake occurred at 1:32 GMT
Greenwich Mean Time
Greenwich Mean Time is a term originally referring to mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London. It is arguably the same as Coordinated Universal Time and when this is viewed as a time zone the name Greenwich Mean Time is especially used by bodies connected with the United...

 (3:32 CEST
Central European Time
Central European Time , used in most parts of the European Union, is a standard time that is 1 hour ahead of Coordinated Universal Time . The time offset from UTC can be written as +01:00...

 local time) at the relatively shallow depth of 9.46 kilometres (5.9 mi) and with an epicentre at 42.3476° N, 13.3800 °E or approximately 90 kilometres (55.9 mi) north-east of Rome, near to the city of L'Aquila
L'Aquila is a city and comune in central Italy, both the capital city of the Abruzzo region and of the Province of L'Aquila. , it has a population of 73,150 inhabitants, but has a daily presence in the territory of 100,000 people for study, tertiary activities, jobs and tourism...

. The earthquake was reported to measure 6.3 on the moment magnitude scale
Moment magnitude scale
The moment magnitude scale is used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of the energy released. The magnitude is based on the seismic moment of the earthquake, which is equal to the rigidity of the Earth multiplied by the average amount of slip on the fault and the size of...


Historical context

Italy frequently experiences earthquakes, but it is uncommon for them to be very deadly. The last major earthquake was the 5.9-magnitude
Richter magnitude scale
The expression Richter magnitude scale refers to a number of ways to assign a single number to quantify the energy contained in an earthquake....

 2002 Molise earthquake
2002 Molise earthquake
The 2002 Molise earthquake was a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that hit the Italian regions of Molise and Puglia on October 31, 2002 at 10:32:58 . The depth of the earthquake was ....

 which killed 30 people, 26 of the victims children who perished in the collapse of an elementary school in San Giuliano di Puglia
San Giuliano di Puglia
San Giuliano di Puglia is a small town and comune in the province of Campobasso, in the region of Molise, in Italy.Even though it is now part of Molise, its name still recalls its former administrative and cultural association with the region of Apulia .It is mainly an agricultural centre.- 2002...

, and was the deadliest quake in 20 years. Earthquakes mark the history of L'Aquila, a city built on the bed of an ancient lake, providing a soil structure
Soil structure
Soil structure is determined by how individual soil granules clump or bind together and aggregate, and therefore, the arrangement of soil pores between them...

 that amplifies seismic waves. The city was struck by earthquakes in 1315, 1349, 1452, 1501, 1646, 1703, and 1706. The earthquake of February 1703
1703 Apennine earthquakes
The 1703 Apennine earthquakes were a sequence of three earthquakes of magnitude ≥6 that occurred in the central Apennines of Italy, over a period of 19 days. The epicenters were near Norcia , Montereale and L'Aquila , showing a southwards progression over about 36 km...

, which caused devastation across much of central Italy, largely destroyed the city and killed around 5,000 people.


Nationality Deaths Injured
  Italian  286 1,173
Macedonians (ethnic group)
The Macedonians also referred to as Macedonian Slavs: "... the term Slavomacedonian was introduced and was accepted by the community itself, which at the time had a much more widespread non-Greek Macedonian ethnic consciousness...

The Romanians are an ethnic group native to Romania, who speak Romanian; they are the majority inhabitants of Romania....

  Czech  2
Palestinian people
The Palestinian people, also referred to as Palestinians or Palestinian Arabs , are an Arabic-speaking people with origins in Palestine. Despite various wars and exoduses, roughly one third of the world's Palestinian population continues to reside in the area encompassing the West Bank, the Gaza...

  Ukrainian  2
The Greeks, also known as the Hellenes , are a nation and ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus and neighboring regions. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world....

1 5
French people
The French are a nation that share a common French culture and speak the French language as a mother tongue. Historically, the French population are descended from peoples of Celtic, Latin and Germanic origin, and are today a mixture of several ethnic groups...

  Israeli  1
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

Total 308 1.500 ca.

The earthquake caused damage to between 3,000 and 11,000 buildings in the medieval
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 city of L'Aquila
L'Aquila is a city and comune in central Italy, both the capital city of the Abruzzo region and of the Province of L'Aquila. , it has a population of 73,150 inhabitants, but has a daily presence in the territory of 100,000 people for study, tertiary activities, jobs and tourism...

. Several buildings also collapsed. 308 people were killed by the earthquake, including two Czechs, five Romanian citizens, two Palestinians,
one Greek citizen, one French citizen, one Ukrainian citizen and one Israeli citizen, and approximately 1,500 people were injured. Twenty of the victims were children. Around 65,000 people were made homeless.

The main earthquake was preceded by two smaller earthquakes the previous day. The earthquake was felt as far away as Rome (92 kilometres (57.2 mi) away), in other parts of Lazio, as well as Marche
The population density in the region is below the national average. In 2008, it was 161.5 inhabitants per km2, compared to the national figure of 198.8. It is highest in the province of Ancona , and lowest in the province of Macerata...

, Molise
Molise is a region of Southern Italy, the second smallest of the regions. It was formerly part of the region of Abruzzi e Molise and now a separate entity...

, Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

 and Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

. Schools remained closed in the Abruzzo region. Most of the inhabitants of L'Aquila abandoned their homes and the city itself; in the city centre of L'Aquila, and the nearby village of Paganica
Paganica is a hillside town in the province of L'Aquila, in the Abruzzo region of southern Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of L'Aquila , and has a population of about 7,000.-History:...

 which was also badly damaged, many streets were impassable due to fallen masonry. The hospital at L'Aquila, where many of the victims were brought, suffered damage in the 4.8 aftershock
An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake, in the same area of the main shock. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock...

 which followed the main earthquake an hour later. Powerful aftershocks, some only slightly weaker than the main shock, were felt throughout the following 2 days.

Villages in the valley along Strada Statale 17 just outside l'Aquila suffered the greatest damage while medieval mountain hill towns lying high above the valley suffered little damage. Onna
Onna, L'Aquila
Onna is a frazione of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It is situated in the Apennine Mountain Range, above sea level. The population is about 300 people.-Early history:...

 was reported to be mostly leveled with 38 deaths among the 350 residents. The villages of Villa Sant'Angelo
Villa Sant'Angelo
Villa Sant'Angelo is a comune and town in the province of L'Aquila, in the Abruzzo region of Italy, which lies in the Aterno River valley near the convergence of the Sirente and the Gran Sasso mountain ranges...

 and San Pio delle Camere
San Pio delle Camere
San Pio delle Camere is a comune and town in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy...

 were badly damaged. Fatalities were reported in Poggio Picenze
Poggio Picenze
Poggio Picenze is a comune and town in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Poggio Picenze is a small city which has approximately one thousand inhabitants. Located on Italy’s Highway 17, it is 14 km from the Abruzzese Apennines and about 12 km from the city of...

, Tornimparte
Tornimparte is a comune and town in the province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy.-Geography:Tornimparte is subdivided into 23 wards : Castiglione, Capo La Villa, Villagrande, Capolitto, Case Tirante, Piè la Villa, Piagge, Pianelle, Colle San Vito, Colle Santa Maria, Barano, San Nicola,...

, Fossa
Fossa (Italy)
Fossa is a comune and town in the province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Bernardino of Fossa was born in the town....

, Totani, San Gregorio
San Gregorio (L'Aquila)
San Gregorio is a village in the Abruzzo region of central Italy. It is a frazione of the comune of L'Aquila. It sits 584 meters above sea level at the base of Monte Manicola. The village of San Gregorio is 12.11 kilometers from the town of L `Aquila, of which it is considered a suburb community...

 and San Pio delle Camere
San Pio delle Camere
San Pio delle Camere is a comune and town in the Province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy...


Many of L'Aquila's medieval buildings were damaged. The apse
In architecture, the apse is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome...

 of the Basilica
The Latin word basilica , was originally used to describe a Roman public building, usually located in the forum of a Roman town. Public basilicas began to appear in Hellenistic cities in the 2nd century BC.The term was also applied to buildings used for religious purposes...

 of Saint Bernardino of Siena
Bernardino of Siena
Saint Bernardino of Siena, O.F.M., was an Italian priest, Franciscan missionary, and is a Catholic saint.-Early life:...

, L'Aquila's largest Renaissance church, was seriously damaged, and its campanile
Campanile is an Italian word meaning "bell tower" . The term applies to bell towers which are either part of a larger building or free-standing, although in American English, the latter meaning has become prevalent.The most famous campanile is probably the Leaning Tower of Pisa...

 collapsed. Almost the whole dome of the 18th-century church of Anime Sante
Santa Maria del Suffragio (L'Aquila)
Santa Maria del Suffragio, which is commonly called the church of Anime Sante , is an 18th century church in L'Aquila, Italy....

 in Piazza Duomo fell down. The 13th-century Basilica di Santa Maria di Collemaggio
Santa Maria di Collemaggio
S. Maria di Collemaggio is a large medieval church in L'Aquila, central Italy. It was the site of the original Papal Jubilee, a penitential observation devised by Pope Celestine V, who is buried here...

 collapsed from the transept to the back of the church, and Porta Napoli, the oldest gate to the city, was destroyed. The third floor of Forte Spagnolo
Forte Spagnolo
The Forte Spagnolo is a Renaissance castle in L'Aquila, central Italy.- History :...

, the 16th-century castle housing the National Museum of Abruzzo
Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo
The Museo Nazionale d'Abruzzo is hosted in the Forte Spagnolo of L'Aquila.The Museum is on three floors: on the ground floor, there is the giant skeleton of an Archidiskon meridionalis found a few miles from Aquila in 1954, and an archeological section with pieces of the Italic pre-Roman period, a...

, collapsed, as did the cupola of the 18th-century Baroque church of St Augustine, damaging L'Aquila's state archives. This church had been rebuilt after it was destroyed in the 1703 earthquake. The Cathedral of L'Aquila has lost part of its transept and maybe more with the effects of the aftershocks. Slight damage was also reported to the Baths of Caracalla
Baths of Caracalla
The Baths of Caracalla in Rome, Italy were Roman public baths, or thermae, built in Rome between AD 212 and 216, during the reign of the Emperor Caracalla.- History :...

 in Rome, but other Roman monuments such as the Colosseum
The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre , is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire...

 and Roman Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 were unharmed.
While most of l'Aquila's medieval structures suffered damage, many of its modern buildings suffered the greatest damage, for instance, a dormitory at the university of l'Aquila collapsed. Even some buildings that were believed to be "earthquake-proof" were damaged. L'Aquila Hospital's new wing, which opened in 2000 and was thought capable of resisting almost any earthquake suffered extensive damage and had to be closed.

Homeless camps

Around 40,000 people who were made homeless by the earthquake found accommodation in tented camps and a further 10,000 were housed in hotels on the coast. Others sought shelter with friends and relatives throughout Italy. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

 caused a controversy when he said, in an interview to the German station n-tv
n-tv is a German television news channel owned by the Bertelsmann AG Media's RTL Group and an affiliate network of CNN since the networks creation in 1992....

, that the homeless victims should consider themselves to be on a "camping weekend" - "They have everything they need, they have medical care, hot food... Of course, their current lodgings are a bit temporary. But they should see it like a weekend of camping." To clarify his thought, he also told the people in a homeless camp: "Head to the beach. It's Easter. Take a break. We're paying for it, you'll be well looked after." The billionaire prime minister offered his own houses to some of the survivors.

Building standards

Poor building standards
Building code
A building code, or building control, is a set of rules that specify the minimum acceptable level of safety for constructed objects such as buildings and nonbuilding structures. The main purpose of building codes are to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to the...

 or construction materials seem to have further contributed to the large number of victims. According to firefighters and other rescuers, some concrete elements of the fallen buildings "seemed to have been made poorly, possibly with sand". An official at Italy's Civil Protection agency, Franco Barberi, said that "in California, an earthquake like this one would not have killed a single person". According to Italian media, L'Aquila's chief prosecutor has opened a probe into possible criminal blame for the collapses.

Luminous phenomena

Many people reported seeing peculiar sightings of light glows, flashes, lightning, flames and fireballs, all of which were considered candidates for earthquake light. 241 luminous phenomena were collected including photos and videos. At least 99 of such phenomena occurred before the main shock and other strong events of the seismic sequence, whereas globular lights, luminous clouds and diffused light were more frequent before the quakes. Flashes were mostly observed during the main shock. Electrical discharges and flames were observed principally after the main shock. Many luminous events were observed before and after the main shock without the ground shaking and were very similar to those reported about two centuries ago. Quacke alarm system
Earthquake Visions
Earthquake Visions is the name of the album that the glam-style metal band It's Alive recorded for Cheiron Studios in 1994. Earthquake Visions eventually sold a disappointing 30,000 copies, but furthermore established the contact between Cheiron and the band's vocalist Martin White – better known...

, based on video sensing network to capture EQL and warn if matches threshold characteristic for EQL preceding main shock, has been proposed.


The epicentral region saw dozens of significant aftershock
An aftershock is a smaller earthquake that occurs after a previous large earthquake, in the same area of the main shock. If an aftershock is larger than the main shock, the aftershock is redesignated as the main shock and the original main shock is redesignated as a foreshock...

s following the main earthquake. The strongest, which hit on 7 April at 19:47 CEST local time, measured magnitude 5.3 ML and caused further damage. According to the Italian National Geophysics Institute director Boschi, the aftershock epicentres have migrated south-east, thus lessening the risk of further major shocks near populated areas.

Aftershocks cause safety problems for rescue crews with cranes and backhoes who are searching for injured people among precarious loose bricks and broken timbers of structures in the historic center of L'Aquila, a medieval city. Even a small aftershock can trigger the collapse of seriously damaged walls or parapets.

Aftershocks also cause sustained psychological trauma to small children and elderly who have already been traumatized by the main earthquake of 6 April 2009. The Italian government is aware of this psychological trauma situation, and therefore has temporarily relocated thousands of citizens away from the epicentral area.

As a result of aftershocks, the dome of the Anime Sante Basilica in L'Aquila, already heavily damaged by the main shock, almost entirely collapsed. Further buildings collapsed in L'Aquila and in neighbouring municipalities. The aftershock was so strong as to be felt in Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

, where it caused an elderly man to die of cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest, is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively...


List of foreshocks and aftershocks

Only shocks with local magnitude 4.0 or higher are listed. There have been dozens of small magnitude aftershocks, ML 1–3, but these generally do not cause further structural damage. Shocks with local magnitude 5.0 or higher are highlighted in blue, and the main shock is highlighted in darker blue.
! Date (YYYY-MM-DD)
and time (UTC) !! Time
(local) !! Lat. !! Long. !! Depth !! ML
| 2009-03-30 13:38:39 >
15:38:39 42.321° N 13.376° E 9.8 km (6.1 mi) style="background: #9999ff"
| 2009-04-06 01:32:39
03:32:39 42.334° N 13.334° E 8.8 km (5.5 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 01:36:29
03:36:29 42.355° N 13.342° E 9.7 km (6 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 01:40:51
03:40:51 42.418° N 13.408° E 11 km (6.8 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 01:41:33
03:41:33 42.387° N 13.316° E 9.1 km (5.7 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 01:42:50
03:42:50 42.300° N 13.429° E 10.5 km (6.5 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 02:37:04
04:37:04 42.366° N 13.340° E 10.1 km (6.3 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 16:38:09
18:38:09 42.362° N 13.333° E 10.2 km (6.3 mi) >-
| 2009-04-06 23:15:37
01:15:37 42.451° N 13.364° E 8.6 km (5.3 mi) >-
| 2009-04-07 09:26:28
11:26:28 42.342° N 13.388° E 10.2 km (6.3 mi) style="background: #ccccff"
| 2009-04-07 17:47:37
19:47:37 42.275° N 13.464° E 15.1 km (9.4 mi) >-
| 2009-04-07 21:34:29
23:34:29 42.380° N 13.376° E 7.4 km (4.6 mi) >-
| 2009-04-08 22:56:50
00:56:50 42.507° N 13.364° E 10.2 km (6.3 mi) style="background: #ccccff"
| 2009-04-09 00:52:59
02:52:59 42.484° N 13.343° E 15.4 km (9.6 mi) >-
| 2009-04-09 03:14:52
05:14:52 42.338° N 13.437° E 18 km (11.2 mi) >-
| 2009-04-09 04:32:44
06:32:44 42.445° N 13.420° E 8.1 km (5 mi) >-
| 2009-04-09 19:38:16
21:38:16 42.501° N 13.356° E 17.2 km (10.7 mi) >-
| 2009-04-13 21:14:24
23:14:24 42.504° N 13.363° E 7.5 km (4.7 mi) >-
| 2009-04-14 20:17:27
22:17:27 42.530° N 13.288° E 10.4 km (6.5 mi) >-
| 2009-04-23 15:14:08
17:14:08 42.247° N 13.492° E 9.9 km (6.2 mi) >-
| 2009-04-23 21:49:00
23:49:00 42.233° N 13.479° E 9.3 km (5.8 mi) >-
| 2009-06-22 20:58:40
22:58:40 42.446° N 13.356° E 14.2 km (8.8 mi) >-
| 2009-07-03 11:03:07
13:03:07 42.409° N 13.387° E 8.8 km (5.5 mi) >-
| 2009-07-12 08:38:51
10:38:51 42.338° N 13.378° E 10.8 km (6.7 mi) >-
| 2009-09-24 16:14:57
18:14:57 42.453° N 13.330° E 9.7 km (6 mi)

National aid

Many Italian companies have offered some sort of help. All Italian mobile companies (Telecom Italia Mobile
Telecom Italia Mobile
TIM is Telecom Italia's mobile phone brand, and runs a GSM, EDGE, UMTS and HSDPA network in Italy and Brazil.In Europe, TIM is part of the FreeMove alliance.TIM Peru was sold to América Móvil and rebranded Claro...

, Vodafone Italy
Vodafone Italy
Vodafone Italia is an Italian mobile telephony operator. The company has 31,000,000 customers and a market share of 33.4%, placing it just behind TIM...

WIND (Italy)
WIND (Italy)
Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA is an Italian telecom operator which offers integrated mobile, fixed and IPTV and Internet services and has also a sister network in Greece: WIND Hellas...

, H3G), and some Mobile virtual network operator
Mobile virtual network operator
A mobile virtual network operator is a company that provides mobile phone services but does not have its own licensed frequency allocation of radio spectrum, nor does it necessarily have all of the infrastructure required to provide mobile telephone service...

sent free minutes and credit to all their pre-paid customers in Abruzzo, suspended billing to all post-paid customers and extended their coverage with additional mobile base stations to cover homeless camps. In addition, some companies sent free mobile phones, SIM Card
Subscriber Identity Module
A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module is an integrated circuit that securely stores the International Mobile Subscriber Identity and the related key used to identify and authenticate subscriber on mobile telephony devices .A SIM is held on a removable SIM card, which...

s and chargers for those who lost their mobiles, and set up a national unique number to send donations to, by placing a call or sending an SMS. Poste Italiane
Poste Italiane
Poste italiane S.p.A. is the government-owned postal service of Italy, headquartered in Rome.Besides providing core postal services, Poste Italiane Group offers integrated products, as well as communication, logistics and financial services in Italy....

 sent to homeless camps some mobile units acting as Postal Office, to allow people to withdraw money from their accounts as well as their retirement.
Many companies, such as pay-tv SKY Italia
Sky Italia
Sky Italia S.r.l. is an Italian digital satellite television platform owned by News Corporation launched on 1 August 2003, when the former platforms TELE+ and Stream TV merged together...

, suspended billing to all customers in Abruzzo, and offered some decoders to homeless camps to allow them to follow the funerals and the news. Ferrovie dello Stato
Ferrovie dello Stato
Ferrovie dello Stato is a government-owned holding which manage infrastructure and service on the Italian rail network. The subsidiary Trenitalia is the main rail operator in Italy.-Organization:Ferrovie dello Stato subsidiaries are:...

 offered railway sleeping carriages to host some homeless people, and offered free tickets to all people and students living in Abruzzo. AISCAT (Associazione Italiana Società Concessionarie Autostrade e Trafori) declared that all toll-roads in Abruzzo would be free of charge. All tax billing for all Abruzzo residents has been suspended by the government, as well as mortgage payments.

International aid

Prime Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

 refused foreign aid for the emergency, saying that Italians were "proud people" and had sufficient resources to deal with the crisis. However he singled out the United States, announcing that he would accept aid for reconstruction: "If the United States wants to give a tangible sign of its solidarity with Italy, it could take on the responsibility of rebuilding heritage sites and churches. We would be very happy to have this support." and suggested the USA help rebuild "a small district of a town or a suburb". Aid was offered by Austria, Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, France, Germany, Spain, Greece, Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

, Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

, Portugal, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

, Mexico
Topos de Tlatelolco
The Técnicos en Urgencias Médicas, Seguridad y Rescate 19 de Septiembre , better known as the Topos de Tlatelolco is a professional Mexican rescue team....

Russia, Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

, Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Switzerland, Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, the
Turkish Red Crescent
Turkish Red Crescent
Turkish Red Crescent is the largest humanitarian organization in Turkey and is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement....

, Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, and the United States.
Aid was also offered by various organisations, companies, sport clubs and celebrities including ACF Fiorentina
ACF Fiorentina
ACF Fiorentina, commonly referred to as simply Fiorentina, is a professional Italian football club from Florence, Tuscany. Founded by a merger in 1926, Fiorentina have played at the top level of Italian football for the majority of their existence; only four clubs have played in more Serie A...

, Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy is an Italian-French songwriter, singer, actress, and former model...

, Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

, S.S.C. Napoli
S.S.C. Napoli
Società Sportiva Calcio Napoli, commonly referred to as Napoli, is a professional Italian football club based in Naples and founded in 1926. The club has spent most of its history in Serie A, where it currently plays its 2011–12 season....

, Zastava
Zastava can refer to:*Zastava Arms*Zastava Automobiles*Zastava Trucks...

 and Fiat
FIAT, an acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino , is an Italian automobile manufacturer, engine manufacturer, financial, and industrial group based in Turin in the Italian region of Piedmont. Fiat was founded in 1899 by a group of investors including Giovanni Agnelli...


Prior warning controversy

Italian laboratory technician Giampaolo Giuliani predicted a major earthquake
Earthquake prediction
An earthquake prediction is a prediction that an earthquake of a specific magnitude will occur in a particular place at a particular time . Despite considerable research efforts by seismologists, scientifically reproducible predictions cannot yet be made to a specific day or month...

 on Italian television a month before, after measuring increased levels of radon
Radon is a chemical element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring naturally as the decay product of uranium or thorium. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of 3.8 days...

 emitted from the ground. He was accused of being alarmist by the Director of the Civil Defence, Guido Bertolaso, and forced to remove his findings from the Internet (old data and descriptions are still on line). He was also reported to police a week before the main quake for "causing fear" among the local population when he predicted an earthquake was imminent in Sulmona
thumb|150px|Celestine V's hermitage and the remains of the Shrine of Hercules Curinus.thumb|150px|Palazzo SS. Annunziata and Museo Civicothumb|150px|Church of SS...

, about 50 km (31.1 mi) from L'Aquila, on 30 March, after a 4° quake happened, (later Sulmona only suffered minor damages by the 6 April earthquake). Enzo Boschi, the head of the Italian National Geophysics Institute declared: "Every time there is an earthquake there are people who claim to have predicted it. As far as I know nobody predicted this earthquake with precision. It is not possible to predict earthquakes." Predicting earthquakes based on radon emissions has been studied by scientists since the 1970s, but enthusiasm for it had faded due to inconsistent results.
In December 2009, Giuliani presented his research, without many important details, to the American Geophysical Union
American Geophysical Union
The American Geophysical Union is a nonprofit organization of geophysicists, consisting of over 50,000 members from over 135 countries. AGU's activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of geophysics...

 in San Francisco; the union subsequently invited him to take part in developing a worldwide seismic early warning system. On his return home, the Italian authorities lifted the gagging injunctions against his predictions.

More recently, Italian geologists and officials have been indicted for manslaughter for (as abbreviated) not predicting the 2009 L'Aquila earthquake.

Controversy on reconstruction and criminality

In the days following the tragedy, some well-known investigative journalists reported that the reconstruction works may have been infiltrated by criminal organisations
Organized crime
Organized crime or criminal organizations are transnational, national, or local groupings of highly centralized enterprises run by criminals for the purpose of engaging in illegal activity, most commonly for monetary profit. Some criminal organizations, such as terrorist organizations, are...

. According to these reports, the most serious hazard is represented by mafia
The Mafia is a criminal syndicate that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century in Sicily, Italy. It is a loose association of criminal groups that share a common organizational structure and code of conduct, and whose common enterprise is protection racketeering...

 and camorra
The Camorra is a Mafia-type criminal organization, or secret society, originating in the region of Campania and its capital Naples in Italy. It is one of the oldest and largest criminal organizations in Italy, dating to the 18th century.-Background:...

 trying to infiltrate the contract procedures.

On 7 April, a few hours after the main earthquake, journalist Luca Spinelli
Luca Spinelli
Luca Spinelli is a Swiss investigative journalist. Born in Italy, he is a columnist for various newspapers, editor-in-chief of LaNotizia and founder of the open source project Oscon.- Biography :...

The transfers of money necessitated by such a big tragedy are huge: much the same as the cost of running a war. [...] Any company would be interested in a turnover and a potential income like this. Surely the "main Italian company" will be: a company with a ninety billion annual invoice, making up to 7% of Italian GDP (Gross Domestic Product
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....

): the Mafia. [...] Abruzzo and Marsica
Marsica is a geographical area in the Abruzzo, central Italy, including 37 comuni in the province of L'Aquila, the most important of which is Avezzano. It is located between the plain of the former Lake Fucino, the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, the plain of Carsoli and the valley of...

 are known territories to the mafia. A region which "attracted the attention of some Camorra and Sacra Corona Unita
Sacra corona unita
Sacra Corona Unita, or United Sacred Crown, is a Mafia-like criminal organization from Apulia region in Southern Italy, and is especially active in the areas of Brindisi, Lecce and Taranto .-Background and activities:...

 associates too", according to Franco Forgione, President of the Parliamentary Antimafia Commission in 2007. A region which, according to the Antimafia District Public Prosecutor's Office of L'Aquila, hosts part of the hidden treasure of mafia boss Vito Ciancimino
Vito Ciancimino
Vito Ciancimino was an Italian politician who served as mayor of Palermo, Sicily. He belonged to the Christian Democrat party , and was the first Italian politician to be found guilty of Mafia membership...

, reckoned to be around 600 million euros. A region which has seen many recent arrests for mafia infiltration. Infiltration in contracts, building consents, the health system. The very things that will be needed for the reconstruction. (Unofficial translation from Italian)

The week following the earthquake, on 14 April, the renowned journalist and writer Roberto Saviano
Roberto Saviano
Roberto Saviano is an Italian writer and journalist.In his writings, articles, television programs, and books he employs prose and news-reporting style to narrate the story of the Camorra , exposing its territory and business connections.Since 2006, following the publication of his bestselling...

, author of the bestseller Gomorrah
Gomorrah (book)
Gomorrah is a book by Roberto Saviano published in 2006.-The book:The book describes the clandestine particulars of the business of the Camorra, a powerful Neapolitan mafia-like organization...

, wrote:
Data demonstrates that the Camorra invasion (in Abruzzo) during these years was enormous. In 2006 it emerged that the ambush against mafia boss Vitale was decided and settled in detail at Villa Rosa in Martinsicuro
Martinsicuro is a town and comune in province of Teramo, Abruzzo, central Italy. It is located on the right of the mouth of Tronto River.-History:...

. On 10 September, Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez
Diego Leon Montoya Sanchez
Diego León Montoya Sánchez , also known as Don Diego, is a former Colombian crime boss leader of the Norte del Valle drug cartel...

, the drug dealer placed amongst the ten most wanted by the FBI, had one of his bases in Abruzzo. Nicola di Villano, cashier in a criminal-interpreneurial clique led by the Zagaria family of Casapesenna
Casapesenna is a comune in the Province of Caserta in the Italian region Campania, located about northwest of Naples and about southwest of Caserta....

, repeatedly managed to escape the capture and it was discovered that his shelter was located in the Abruzzo National Park
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise
Parco Nazionale d'Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise is an Italian national park founded in 1922. The majority of the park is located in the Abruzzo region though it is not constrained by regional boundaries and also includes territory in Lazio and Molise. The park headquarters are in Pescasseroli in the...

, where he had the chance to move freely. Abruzzo has become a junction point for the waste traffic. [...] Behind it all, obviously, the Camorra clans.

In the following weeks, even the major Italian institutions talked about the danger of criminal infiltration, noting that these risks would have been avoided with adequate supervision and inspections. On 15 April, President of the Chamber of Deputies
Italian Chamber of Deputies
The Italian Chamber of Deputies is the lower house of the Parliament of Italy. It has 630 seats, a plurality of which is controlled presently by liberal-conservative party People of Freedom. Twelve deputies represent Italian citizens outside of Italy. Deputies meet in the Palazzo Montecitorio. A...

 Gianfranco Fini
Gianfranco Fini
Gianfranco Fini is an Italian politician, President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, leader of the center-right Future and Freedom party, and the former leader of the conservative National Alliance and the post-fascist Italian Social Movement...

 confirmed the need to "watch over the mafia infiltrations".

On 17 April, Italian Prime Minister
Prime minister of Italy
The Prime Minister of Italy is the head of government of the Italian Republic...

 Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

, stated: "Exploitations will be impossible, we will reconstruct within 6 months keeping out exploitations and mafia."

State funeral

On the morning of 10 April 2009, which was also Good Friday
Good Friday
Good Friday , is a religious holiday observed primarily by Christians commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death at Calvary. The holiday is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum on the Friday preceding Easter Sunday, and may coincide with the Jewish observance of...

, a state funeral
State funeral
A state funeral is a public funeral ceremony, observing the strict rules of protocol, held to honor heads of state or other important people of national significance. State funerals usually include much pomp and ceremony as well as religious overtones and distinctive elements of military tradition...

 was held for 205 of the 291 victims of the earthquake. It was attended by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi
Silvio Berlusconi , also known as Il Cavaliere – from knighthood to the Order of Merit for Labour which he received in 1977 – is an Italian politician and businessman who served three terms as Prime Minister of Italy, from 1994 to 1995, 2001 to 2006, and 2008 to 2011. Berlusconi is also the...

, President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano
Giorgio Napolitano
Giorgio Napolitano is an Italian politician who has been the 11th President of Italy since 2006. A long-time member of the Italian Communist Party and later the Democrats of the Left, he served as President of the Chamber of Deputies from 1992 to 1994 and as Minister of the Interior from 1996 to...

, and many other politicians and church dignitaries. The funeral Mass
A Requiem or Requiem Mass, also known as Mass for the dead or Mass of the dead , is a Mass celebrated for the repose of the soul or souls of one or more deceased persons, using a particular form of the Roman Missal...

 was led by the Vatican's second highest official, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The Vatican had earlier granted a special dispensation to hold a Mass on Good Friday, the only day on the Roman Catholic calendar on which Mass is not normally held. Near the end, an Islamic rite was held for the Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 victims. In addition Friday was declared a national day of mourning
National day of mourning
A national day of mourning is a day marked by mourning and memorial activities observed among the majority of a country's populace. They are designated by that nation's government...

, with flags flying at half staff
Half-staff is the American term for to describe a flag flying a flag below the summit of the flagpole . The rest of the English-speaking world uses the term half-mast. Technically the flag should be flown one breadth lower to allow for the invisible flag of death...

, shops lowering their shutters and flights stopping at the airport for one minute of silence
Moment of silence
A moment of silence is the expression for a period of silent contemplation, prayer, reflection, or meditation. Similar to flying a flag at half-mast, a moment of silence is often a gesture of respect, particularly in mourning for those who have recently died or as part of a commemoration ceremony...


Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI is the 265th and current Pope, by virtue of his office of Bishop of Rome, the Sovereign of the Vatican City State and the leader of the Catholic Church as well as the other 22 sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches in full communion with the Holy See...

 later visited the areas affected by the L'Aquila earthquake on 28 April 2009.

In response to the earthquake, automaker Ferrari
Ferrari S.p.A. is an Italian sports car manufacturer based in Maranello, Italy. Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1929, as Scuderia Ferrari, the company sponsored drivers and manufactured race cars before moving into production of street-legal vehicles as Ferrari S.p.A. in 1947...

 announced that an F430
Ferrari F430
The Ferrari F430 is a sports car that was produced by the Italian automaker Ferrari from 2004 to 2009, as a successor to the 360. It debuted at the 2004 Paris Motor Show...

 painted silver and gold would be produced. It was auctioned, and all proceeds went to the relief fund. This was the last F430 produced. In addition, Italian Formula 1 racing driver Jarno Trulli
Jarno Trulli
Jarno Trulli is an Italian Formula One racing driver. He has been a regular in Formula One since 1997, driving for Minardi, Prost, Jordan, Renault and Toyota. He won the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix for Renault, his only Grand Prix victory to date. He is known for being a qualification expert...

arranged a fund raising campaign known as Abruzzo In Hearts for the earthquake victims, which Italian Icon's such as Valentino Rossi took part in. The MotoGP star gave all the money he made from writing a column in a Spanish magazine every month to the cause, and had a sticker on the side of his Yamaha M1 at races.

Juridical issues

In 2011, six seismologists and a government official in L’Aquila responsible for evaluating the threat of natural disasters were charged with manslaughter, stemming from what the authorities say was a failure to warn the population before the deadly 2009 earthquake. Giuseppe Romano Gargarella ordered the members of the Great Risks commission to go on trial in L'Aquila. The judge said the defendants gave inexact, incomplete, and contradictory information about smaller tremors in L'Aquila six months before the earthquake on April 6, 2009.

External links

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