Above: a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy early this morning (image via the United States Geological Survey website).
Across social media this morning, I’ve been reading accounts of this morning’s devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake in central Italy, which occurred at 3:36 a.m. local time.
The epicenter was 10 kilometers southeast of Norcia in Perugia province (Umbria).
But the most extensive damage seems to have occurred in small hill towns in Latium and the Marches. According to all reports I can find, Accumoli (Rieti province, Latium), Amatrice (Rieti), and Arquata del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno province, Marches) were among the hardest hit.
In a statement this morning, the mayor of Amatrice reported that the entire historic center was destroyed (New York Times).
Click here for La Repubblica coverage and images of the devastation.
As of this posting, 63 lives have been claimed. Updated, Thursday, August 25: at least 241 lives have been claimed (La Repubblica).
From Rome to the Marches and even as far north as Parma, social media users I follow have been checking in and posting dispatches on relatives and friends living in the affected areas.
One of the most moving was by my friend Fabio Ciarla who lives and works in the wine industry outside of Rome.
“You wake up in the middle of nightmare and head back down the Via Salaria,” he wrote this morning, “the same road you would take when you were little with your family on a drive to Ascoli Piceno where [brother] Valentino studied enology. Not just through Amatrice but also towns like Posta, Sigillo, and Accumoli… Those were happy trips. Today it’s a Calvary.”*
Our hearts and prayers go out to our Italian sisters and brothers this morning. G-d bless them, G-d bless us all.
*Calvary: “the proper name of the place where Christ was crucified” (Oxford English Dictionary) and by extension a site of doom.