In the Magazine
When the Earth Shook
Pescara del Tronto, Italy—Rescuers work following an earthquake on August 24 which flattened towns in central Italy in the early hours, killing at least 120 people and burying some alive in their sleep. Volunteers and firefighters raced to free those trapped under mounds of rubble as darkness fell. The quake razed mountain homes and buckled roads in a cluster of communities some 85 miles east of Rome. It was powerful enough to be felt in Bologna to the north and Naples to the south. "I was blown away by what I saw. We haven't stopped digging all day," said Marcello di Marco, 34, a farmer who traveled from the town of Narni to help with emergency services' rescue efforts. In the nearby village of Accumoli, a family of four, including two boys aged 8 months and 9 years, were buried when their house imploded. As rescue workers carried away the body of the infant, carefully covered by a small blanket, the children's grandmother blamed God: "He took them all at once," she wailed. The army was mobilized to help with special heavy equipment and the Treasury released 235 million euros ($265 million) of emergency funds. At the Vatican, Pope Francis dispatched part of the Holy See's tiny firefighting force to help in the rescue.