(MissionNewswire) On Oct. 30, a 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck central Italy, destroying buildings and leaving more than 15,000 people seeking temporary shelter, according to a news report from CNN. There are no reported deaths from the quake but many non-life threatening injuries. Salesian missionaries living and working in the area were quick to respond offering shelter in their centers for those displaced. This earthquake comes on the heels of one that affected the same region on Oct. 26 and one previously in August.
CNN reports that Titti Postiglione, a spokeswoman for Italy’s Civil Protection agency, told reporters that the number of people in temporary shelter was expected to grow as the agency continued its work in affected areas. “We are working under extremely difficult conditions,” she said. “The roads were already compromised after the previous quakes and now they’re even worse.”
The Salesians of the Special Circumscription of Central Italy have taken action in several ways to help the tens of thousands of people affected by the earthquakes that have recently shaken the central regions of the country. In addition to offering shelter, missionaries have also organized additional oratory activities offering youth and their families psychological and spiritual support at this time.
The Center of Colorito di Ussita, which is often used by Salesian missionaries for youth activities, is located in one of the most affected areas and suffered some damage as a result of the earthquakes that struck in October. However, it is hosting many people from Ussita who were already homeless following the earthquake that hit the same region earlier this year in August.
“Colorito was started precisely to welcome people and offer accommodation,” says a Salesian representative from the affected areas. “We welcome everyone, including families with dogs. We are doing as much as we can for families in need but we have reached our capacity at times. Salesian missionaries will continue to assess the ongoing situation and do what we can for those in need.”
Since September, Salesian missionaries in Macerata have been accommodating in their school building, which has been closed since 2014, 300 students who had been displaced when the “E. Mestica” Comprehensive School buildings were damaged by the August quake. Students needed to be transferred because they were no longer able to access any education at their school. The Salesian school building reopened to continue classes and educational assistance.
In addition, youth leaders with the Salesian-run Don Bosco Savio are busy in the afternoons with special activities in the oratory, while the Scout groups from the Salesian Center and the Salesian leaders of Don Bosco Savio are working in reception services and logistical support in the centers for displaced people in Macerata and Tolentino. The Rector Father Flaviano d’Ercoli, together with Father Salvatore Policino and Father Roberto Cornacchia, are providing spiritual assistance to young people and families who are suffering psychologically.
Meanwhile, the Superior of the Circumscription, Father Leonardo Mancini, has agreed to collaborate with Salesian missionaries with the Diocese of Rieti, which was strongly affected by the earthquake in August. Together, the two groups will provide additional pastoral support each weekend from mid-November through summer of 2017; organize a summer camp from mid-June to mid-August 2017 in the village of Amatrice; and collaborate in the construction of a closed covered structure for social activities to be completed in a short time.
Salesian missionaries will continue assessing the needs of their students and families in their programs affected by the earthquakes as well as continue to provide relief and reconstruction efforts for the affected communities.
(Photo courtesy ANS)