A very shallow, strong M6.2 earthquake struck central Italy overnight, heavily damaging several small towns, and was felt (see map above) widely across the region. The initial quake has been followed by more than 100 aftershocks, with several of them in the 5.0-5.5 magnitude range.
Magnitude Mw 6.2 Region CENTRAL ITALY Date time 2016-08-24 01:36:32.3 UTC Location 42.71 N ; 13.22 E Depth 4 km Distances 109 km NE of Roma, Italy / pop: 2,563,241 / local time: 03:36:32.3 2016-08-24
43 km N of L’Aquila, Italy / pop: 68,503 / local time: 03:36:32.3 2016-08-24
14 km E of Maltignano, Italy / pop: 2,514 / local time: 03:36:32.3 2016-08-24
Rescue efforts are underway, with reportedly many people trapped in the rubble. CNN is reporting at least 21 deaths, although that number could certainly go higher.
While we tend to think of the Pacific's ring of fire and central Asia when it comes to seismic activity, much of Europe is vulnerable as well. Below you’ll find the 2013 SHARE (Seismic Hazard Harmonization in Europe) seismic hazard map.
In 2011, in A Look At Europe’s Seismic Risks, we took a look at some of the most devastating earthquakes to strike Europe over the past 700 years, including the quake that leveled the Swiss town of Basel in 1356 and the horrific earthquake and tsunami that struck Portugal in 1755 on November 1st (All Saint’s Day).
Also in 2011 (see UNDP: Supercities At Seismic Risk) we saw a report that stated that half of the world’s supercities (urban areas with 2 million – 15 million inhabitants) are at high risk for seismic activity.
In January of 2012 (see UN Agency Warns On Global Seismic Risks), the United Nations International Strategy For Disaster Reduction (UNIDSR.Org) issued a cautionary warning about ignoring seismic threats.
Last night's tragedy comes just hours before Germany is expected to announce what role their citizens should play in preparing for disasters (natural or otherwise).
Three days ago, in German Govt. Contemplates Mandating Personal Preparedness, we looked at a proposal that all German households have 10 days worth of emergency supplies in the event of a national emergency.
Last night’s temblor is a reminder that disasters can strike anytime, and anywhere, and preparedness isn’t just for those who live on major fault lines or in the historic path of hurricanes and typhoons.
Every home should have no less than a 72-hour supply of emergency food and water, a good first aid kit, emergency lighting (not candles!), a battery operated radio, and a disaster plan.
And three days should be considered a minimum. Ten days is a far better goal.
Starting next week FEMA and Ready.gov will spend the month of September promoting National Preparedness Month through community events, drills, and exercises.
Because in any emergency, the advantage goes to those who were prepared.