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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.

Your reaction

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.
Marília, Brazil

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.
Father Santhosh C. Sebastian, Rome, Italy

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
Tony Paolozzi , Italy

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.
Anna, Wales, UK

We share the pain of all those who have lost a loved one in this earthquake

Kanta, New Zealand
The tragedy that has struck Italy has touched the hearts of all around the world who can feel the pain of others. What makes it more sad is that so many children have lost their lives. We share the pain of all those who have lost a loved one in this earthquake. Our prayers are with you all.
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.
Renato Forte, UK

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.
Irene, Firenze, Italy

My prayers are with them

Connie Carrozza, Canada
My birth name is Costanza, my entire family on my mom's side is in San Giuliano. I have been to San Giuliano many times to visit my family. I just recently lost my grandmother also Costanza and now I've lost my ten year old cousin in the tragedy also Costanza. My heart is breaking since just a month ago I spoke to her and she asked me when I would return to visit her and the family. My prayers are with them and may Costanza rest in peace, along with the many other victims (relatives) of this 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.
Robert Barbato, USA

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.
Nino Fratamico, UK

I live in Benevento near Campobasso and I have felt the last strong quake some minutes ago (about 18.30 pm - 1/11/2002).
Vittorio, Italy

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.
Mary Stevens, Italy

I continue to feel powerful tremors from time to time

Marco Mattar, Italy
I live in Campobasso and I continue to feel powerful tremors from time to time. This is was a real shock for me. I heard rumbles, I've seen the outside the wall of my house oscillating. There seems to be no let up.
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.
Lisa Fattore Juretic, USA

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.
Cristina Romano, Foggia, Italy

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
Angelo Demeo, UK

I can see the window in front of me move

Angela Pepe, Naples, Italy
It's 1610, Fri, 1 November, we just had another major tremor. I'm sitting at my computer and I can see the window in front of me move, also my chair is moving. But my thoughts go mainly to the people of San Giuliano di Puglia. A known seismologist says that all this may last for weeks... I hope he is wrong.
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.
Sergio Catoni, Canada

I am so sorry and lost for words

Tony, England
The quake struck at the region where my mother originates from. I am so sorry and lost for words. God bless the children and Italy.
Tony, England

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.
J. A. Petrilli, Canada

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.
Sanjeev, Germany

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.
Francesco Savino, Australia

I heard a strong rumble upon the roof

Ferdinando Giammmichele, Vasto, Abruzzo, Italy
I live 30 km north of San Giuliano di Puglia. At 11:30 I was sleeping. I heard a strong rumble upon the roof and suddenly woke up. I appeared at the window to see what the matter was: I thought it was a truck on the road. Some books and other things fell down from the bookshelf; the chandelier was wildly swinging in the ceiling: I realised it was the earthquake.
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.
Giovanni, UK

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.
Irene Cossins, Italy

I am 37 years old, I have never, ever cried whilst watching a news report, I did last night.
Martin, UK

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.
Karen Mamalakis, Lafayette, USA

I felt the quake at my office in Rome

Davide Bomarzi, Italy
I felt the quake at my office in Rome yesterday, the door slammed shut and the walls vibrated. I live in a similar village to where the disaster happened and my son goes to our small school. My heart goes out to the parents, I can only begin to imagine their feelings.
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.
Antonio, Italy

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.
Rosina Borrelli, UK

It is a terrible day for us

Marco, Italy
I live near San Giuliano. It's a terrible tragedy. Six children and a woman have died now and 20 children are in a hospital. Many other children are trapped in the school but the firefighters are working very hard to save them. It is a terrible day for us.
Marco, Italy

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.
Franco Del Basso, UK

My prayers are with the people of Italy today, with the families who have lost a loved one in a such a tragic way.
Peggy Curry, USA

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.
John Cinquemani, UK

The sense of powerlessness during a tremor is pretty strong

Martin Anderson, Italy
I'm in the Naples region and was working in front of my computer when the tremor came. It was like a very big freight train passing very close by. I went outside into an open space but the tremor had already stopped. The memory of 1980 is a deep scar for the people of this region and those that lived through it scare easily, and understandably. The sense of powerlessness during a tremor is pretty strong, and there's not much more to be done than hope for the best.
Martin Anderson, Italy

We could feel the earthquake clearly in Naples, and one school nearby was immediately evacuated.
Alexander Hellemans, Italy

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.
Cristina Romano, Italy

For the last few days, ashes from the Etna eruption have reached Malta and a black powder has deposited on our roads and roofs.
J. A. Dougall, Malta

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