The 6.0 earthquake (lasting a neverending 142 seconds) that hit central Italy in the early hours yesterday, August 24th, has caused 250 confirmed victims. Searches continue in several towns and villages that have suffered extreme damage, including Amatrice, in northern Lazio, with the epicenter near Accumoli, both in the province of Rieti and in Arquata, in the province of Ascoli Piceno (Le Marche), and its small town of Pescara del Tronto. Hundreds of aftershocks have followed, some up to 5.0 themselves.
The toll-free emergency numbers for Civil Protection Department (Protezione Civile , similar to the national Guard in the US) are 800 840 840 or 803 555. People are urged to send help, but to please stay away from the area.
What can you do to help? There are several ways you can help victims, their families and, yes, their pets. Here are a few:
Local Civil Protection offices are gathering items (new , please) such as:
- warm clothing (the temperature drops to even 0°C during the night)
- bottled water, especially small (easier for emergency kitchen use), both still and carbonated
- food: high protein foods in general, canned beans and tomatoes, non-perishable foods, longlife milk, oil
- personal hygiene products: toothbrushes, soap, toilet paper, kleenex, diapers and wet wipes (even for general use)
- plastic utensils
- pet food
- disposable gloves
- picks for the volunteers
- baskets and boxes to help distribute donations
PLEASE NOTE: The race to donate blood has been successful and donations are no longer urgent, but the national Avis has set up an account to help their member locations, which you can find here.
Should you want to help animals in particular, Sarah Topps, an expat in Le Marche, with proven experience in similar projects, has set up a crowdfunding in order to buy pet food.
Please add to the comments below should you know of any other ways to help!