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Friday, August 26, 2016

How could this happen?

Two days ago, the Lazio region of Italy (about two hours away from Rome) was disturbed by a series of earthquakes. Some villages in the mountains were completely destroyed. There are casualties of course: around 260 people died and some 400 are severely injured.

How could this happen? Earthquakes are no extraordinary event. In California and Japan they happen a lot as well, but not often with such a disastrous effect. In Amatrice, only one building is still standing: the church tower. It was built centuries ago, with thick walls and in different layers.

The problem is corruption. In Italy, companies put up buildings with the cheapest of materials - just in the hope there would not be an earthquake. After a severe quake in the 1970's the building regulations were sharpened, but in the area that now suffered most houses date before 1970.

Rescue workers are still looking for people buried underneath the rubble. And every now and then they do find someone living. Most of the time, however, they dig up corpses. Lots of children too, as lots of them stay with grandma and grandpa while their parents are at work in Rome.

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