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Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 11:08 GMT
Italian earthquake: Your experiences
At least 26 children and two women are known to have died after a kindergarten in the village of San Giuliano di Puglia collapsed amid an earthquake in southern Italy.
Questions are being asked about why the school opened on Thursday, when others in the area stayed closed amid fears of a quake, and why the newly modernised school building was destroyed when others nearby were not.
The earthquake had its epicentre in the town of Campobasso, which suffered structural damage, as did six surrounding villages.
Seismologists had already been monitoring the region after this week's eruption of Mount Etna in Sicily, Europe's biggest active volcano.
About 1,000 people are currently homeless, living in tents and requisitioned hotels.
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
We think that in today's world we are immunized against tragedy. After all, we have so many tragedies to deal with every single day. Never in my life was I so touched by the vision of a mother, escorted by two policemen, carrying the backpack of her dead child. This image alone brought the power of the earthquake into my soul and broke my heart. I don't know her name, I don't know her child's name, but I know her pain. And this is unbearable.
I hope that the innocent martyrdom and the sacrifice of those little angels will shake our conscience to commit ourselves to the welfare and safety of the children all over the world. Little angels continue to stir up our conscience so that your peers in the world may have a better future - let your martyrdom never go unsung. Let it never rust in the store room of the oblivion of convenience.
I live in Cassino a small town between Rome and Naples. I experienced the 11:30 first quake from the fourth story of a reinforced-concrete block of flats which is meant to oscillate thereby dissipating energy. It was the first time I had ever experienced this kind of tremor and it was quite unnerving, akin to a ferry boat crossing the channel in choppy seas. Also, a thought for the poor people who have lost family in this terrible event - anyone who has children can only cry along with them and hope that the Italian authorities get their act together on checking the stability of public buildings such as schools, universities, government offices etc
Firstly can I just send my heartfelt condolences to all those affected by the earthquakes in Italy and Etna in Sicily. Secondly I think the Italian government has a lot to answer for here. My family are from Cava dei Tirreni south of Naples. The town was badly affected by the earthquakes of 1980. There is a severe lack of building regulations in southern Italy. I think the EU should demand an immediate review into Italy's building regulations to prevent these innocent people losing their homes and their lives again. God bless the beautiful country, its people, and those it has lost lately.
Kanta, New Zealand
The people of San Giuliano and all the affected area are in my prayers. I lived in Naples in 1980 and I have experienced at first hand the devastating terror of a major earthquake. There is nothing that compares to the terrifying feeling of helplessness one experiences during a quake. There is literally no way to go, the whole world around you shakes and you can only pray and hope for it to stop.
This is such a sad, terrible event. May God bless the children who perished and the town that now must come together to overcome such a tragedy.
Connie Carrozza, Canada
My grandparents are from Molise, Sanpolomatese near Campobasso. My brother is trying to call our cousins to see how they are. The people of the region, especially of San Giuliano, are in our prayers.
I was born in a village called Castelmauro, not far from San Giuliano di Puglia. I am very worried about my family, my mother is fitted with a "pacemaker" and my concern is that with the continuous tremors she may suffer another heart attack. My father was slightly injured, he was on an olive tree picking olives when the quake struck the first time. Apparently he found himself on the ground without realising what happened. I hope this inferno will soon be over for the "Molisani". Please be strong and have faith.
I live in Benevento near Campobasso and I have felt the last strong quake some minutes ago (about 18.30 pm - 1/11/2002).
We are Americans living in a small village near Avellino, Italy, about 45 minutes from Campobasso. At 16:10 this afternoon, I was washing off my kitchen table when it suddenly moved much more than it would if I were scrubbing hard. Then the pots hanging in the kitchen began to clatter. We are from California so we immediately recognized the signs. I looked out my window and many of my neighbours were gathering outside in the piazza. We joined them for some human comfort. One woman had her door open and we were watching the panic in San Guiliano as today's aftershock occurred.
Marco Mattar, Italy
My father was from the area that got hit with the earthquake. My prayers and thoughts will be with the town people and hope that our prayers will help them get through this difficult time.
One hour ago, there was another strong rumble and a second quake, very similar to that of yesterday, but not so long. It was very terrible, I was in front of my pc, and I felt a big movement of air, and then the quake. Now I hope all is finished.
I know many people from the Campobasso area, my heart goes out to the families who have lost somebody in this tragedy. It is a very sad day for all Italians worldwide
Angela Pepe, Naples, Italy
My mother is from Campobasso and used to be a teacher herself in the region many years ago. It really hit home when hearing about the terrible news. Our deepest sympathies go out to all the families that have lost loved ones. There are many ex patriots from Campobasso here in Canada who still have lots of family in the region and news of the earthquake spread very quickly.
My father is from Provvidenti, a tiny medieval town south of Casacalenda. We reached his uncle by telephone yesterday, and being quite elderly his was frightened and crying. His house is fissured and some other buildings in the village have collapsed. The civil services were not letting him re-enter his home, which has been an ancestral home for generations. We could only cry with him and be thankful that no one from our small family was injured. Our cousin being an elementary school teacher in the region, we felt doubly blessed to hear that she was all right as well. They are all in our thoughts and prayers.
My close friend Luccia lives in Campobasso. I am very worried about her and family. Is there any emergency number where I can call and find out about their wellbeing?
God bless Campobasso and Italy.
I am part of the significant community of ex-patriots from the Campobasso province, here in Melbourne, Australia. Our prayers go out to our fellow "paesani", and we share in their deep sense of loss and sadness.
Ferdinando Giammmichele, Vasto, Abruzzo, Italy
My family are from Colletorto, the nearest village to San Giuliano, about 3 km away. My father is there at present. San Giuliano like my village Colletorto is a small tight knit community and they may never get over this. Colletorto has not suffered as much damage as San Giuliano. Despite this the people are petrified and most will be sleeping outside tonight in cars and wherever. Most seem to have gathered at the football ground high up in the village away from buildings as there have been numerous aftershocks; my father tells me he felt a slight tremor at about 3am this morning, eight hours before the main tremor. I feel so shocked as my twin four-year-old boys recently attended the Colletorto village nursery school for two months. It makes me sick to think that my family could have so easily been caught up in this tragedy.
Today Friday 1 November is All Saints Day in Italy. This is a day when we remember all the people we have lost. With this tragedy it makes today seem even more tearful.
I am 37 years old, I have never, ever cried whilst watching a news report, I did last night.
My heart goes out to all of those wonderful Italian families affected by the earthquakes. I lived in Naples from 1980-1984 and experienced many tremors. One registered 8.2 and several people died. I will keep your bella country and people in my prayers.
Davide Bomarzi, Italy
Although I live in Latium, not far from the centre of the earthquake, I haven't felt the tremors this morning. All I can say is that I feel very sad if I look at the news from the collapsed school. It's a terrible day for all Italians.
Every time I hear the reporters say "San Giuliano di Puglia" I feel sick. It is one of the smallest sleepy villages you can imagine - and it is unreal that it is now on every news channel. My Dad was born there, and most of his family are still there and we are worried sick and in shock about this terrible tragedy. Our prayers go out to them.
My mother phoned me just after it hit that region, she lives in Alife which is a short distance away. She described how her garden furniture started vibrating and moving across the patio during the quake and the panic of the local community afterwards. She described how local villagers were scared to re-enter their homes fearing a repeat tremor.
My prayers are with the people of Italy today, with the families who have lost a loved one in a such a tragic way.
My mother is from San Giuliano Di Puglia and I know the village quite well. We are all in utter shock. My cousin's children go to that school. We are all desperately trying to get in contact but we can't get through.
Martin Anderson, Italy
We could feel the earthquake clearly in Naples, and one school nearby was immediately evacuated.
I live in Foggia, not far from Campobasso. The quake was very strong, the longest I remember. Now I am afraid for a new danger.
For the last few days, ashes from the Etna eruption have reached Malta and a black powder has deposited on our roads and roofs.
01 Nov 02 | Europe
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