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Case Study: L’Aquilla 2009
Where did it happen? L’Aquilla is found in central Italy and is the capital
of the region of Abruzzo. The earthquake occurred on the destructive
boundary between the African late and the Eurasian plate.
What happened? At 3:32pm on the 6th of April 2009 an earthquake of magnitude 5.8 on the Richter
scale. The epicentre was 60km away from Rome, close to L’Aquilla and the focus was 10km deep.
110000 buildings damaged
Damage to medieval buildings and
Broken water pipe outside Pagancia
291 people killed
1500 people injured
Cost Italy $15 billion
Silvio Berlusconi refused foreign aid for
11,000 volunteers helped in the aftermath
34000 homeless housed in161 tent camps
Red cross set up a field kitchen providing
10000 meals a day
Italian Sky stopped billing people and
provided TV’s in camps
The post office set up ,mobile offices
allowing people access to money and
58000 people homeless
88000 people left unemployed
28000 students unable to access
1000km2 of land affected by surface
ruptures, rock falls and landslides.
Long term responses
Government paid for 100% of building
New towns to be funded by the
government to help economic growth
Mobile companies provided free mobile
Rescue attempt was well organised
between the Army, Fire service and
Cranes and diggers used to remove
International teams helped with rescue
Government provided money to pay rent.
Mortgages, Gas and electricity bills were
How was the hazard managed? There was some management of the hazard but it did not have much
effect. Many of the old buildings were not properly retrofitted to make them earthquake proof
however there is a national volunteer force to help with rescue efforts and a regularly updated seismic
risk map. Despite this a scientist predicted an imminent earthquake a week in advance of the event
because of an increase in the amount of radon gas emitted. His concerns were dismissed and he was to
remove his work from the internet to stop fear spreading across the population.