Supporting quake-hit Italy

LUNCHEON: Australian Greens leader Richard Di Natale, Sergio Bianchi and Luca Ferrari were on hand at Panoroma House on October 30 to help raise $25,000 for the Amatrice Earthquake Appeal Committee. Picture: Sylvia LiberOn the day Wollongong’s proud Italian community wereraising funds for their earthquake ravaged country, news hitthat another quake had devastated Italy.

Fortunately, while the October 30 earthquake was the most powerful in 36 years and struck Italy’s mountainous centre, the same region that was hit by a devastating quake in August, there was no loss of life.

Almost 300people died from the earthquake in central Italy in August. Amatrice was the worst-affected town with 230 confirmed dead.

There was no loss of life in the latest quake but themagnitude 6.6 earthquake left residents shell-shocked for the third time in two months, reducing buildings to rubble and flattening a world famous 600-year-old basilica.

Witnesses said St Benedict’s cathedral – birthplace of the Catholic saint and the 14th century cathedral in one of the city’s main piazza – crumbled.

The church is looked after by an international community of Benedictine monks and attracts some 50,000 pilgrims every year.

Luca Ferrari, the honorary vice consul of Italy in Wollongong, had just left a luncheon at Panoroma House, which raised $25,000 for The Amatrice Earthquake Appeal, when news filtered through about the latest earthquake.

“We were trying to call Amatrice’s mayor to talk about the appeal but we couldn’t get through. It was only when we got home that we realised that there had been several tremors and a major earthquake in nearby Norcia,’’ Mr Ferrari said.

“We couldn’t get a hold of him because everyone was fleeing trying to reach safer spots, because there were tremors and then I believe a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck.

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