Italian-American organizations are preparing relief efforts after an earthquake devastated three central Italian towns, killing at least 247 people.
The Italian American Museum in Manhattan has set up a crowdfunding page on youcaring.com for people to donate, museum vice president Maria Fosco said Wednesday. The museum plans to turn over all donations to the Italian government, according to the crowdfunding page. The New York State chapter of the Order Sons of Italy in America is also accepting donations, according to chapter president Carolyn Reres.
“Our prayers go out to the victims and families and everyone in that area. These situations are really devastating and we want them to know that we’re doing all we can on this end to help,” said Fosco, who’s originally from Orsogna, a town south of the quake.
Wednesday about 10 p.m., Fosco said her Facebook was “suddenly inundated” with news about the quake, which shook the regions of Lazio, Umbria and Le Marche on the Adriatic coast. She received calls from friends and family soon after saying that they felt the tremors but were not hurt.
The magnitude 6.2 quake struck early Wednesday morning and was felt across central Italy, including Rome. In the hardest hit towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Pescara del Tronto, rescue crews worked to pull people trapped under the rubble as aftershocks continued to jolt the region throughout the day.
“People were scared,” she said. “They had memories of 2009.”
Seven years ago an earthquake killed more than 300 people in and around the city of L’Aquila, which is about 55 miles south of the area affected Wednesday. Following the L’Aquila quake, both the Sons of Italy and the Italian American Museum donated more than $100,000 to the Italian government to help rebuild the crumbled city.
Adriano Scacchi, 41, currently lives in Massapequa Park but was born in the Lazio region and still has family there.
“When I first heard about it I came to a complete stop,” he said. “I broke into a cold sweat and started shaking. I couldn’t call my family fast enough.”
Scacchi says his uncle and his family, who weren’t injured in the quake, were startled awake when their house started “violently shaking.”
“They all got up and ran outside to the streets or wherever they could for protection. I’m just so relieved they weren’t hurt,” he said.