Mittwoch, 23.05.2018 22:26 Uhr

Amatrice-a young but already forgotten tragedy!

Verantwortlicher Autor: Dieter Scheppeit Amatrice, 12.07.2017, 09:32 Uhr
Presse-Ressort von: Dieter Scheppeit Bericht 5542x gelesen
The destruction began on 24.08.16 at 03:36
The destruction began on 24.08.16 at 03:36  Bild: Dieter Scheppeit

Amatrice [ENA] At 03:36 a.m. the great disaster began and a few minutes later time stood still. Not only in the clock tower of my title picture, but also for at least 298 people. Children and adults who were looking forward to their next holidays when they went to bed. These people will never go on holidays!

I myself spent some years of my life not far from Amatrice and was deeply shocked when I heard about it in the morning news. For 3 days, all broadcasters covered the news. Tragedy struck again and this time in the heart of Europe! Shocking reports and images. Dead people and mourning relatives. Mothers and fathers who dug with bare hands looking for their missing children. High audience ratings were guaranteed! The first major earthquake lasted only 3 minutes – and it was news for only 3 days. Then all went quiet, but not for those affected! They are still suffering silently, because neither the media nor the politicians are showing any interest anymore.

After 10 months of silence, I wanted to know what exactly happened there. How are the victims doing? What has become of the relief campaigns, what exactly happened with the donations, because the donation campaigns took place in the whole of Europe. Many people in Europe showed solidarity with the victims and donated accordingly. Campaigns like "Germany helps - Donate now and save lives!" - "Un futuro per Amatrice!" - "Cooks cook for earthquaque victims" - "HGV South Tyrol. Donation campaign for earthquake victims! "-" Slow Food Deutschland e.V. earthquake Amatrice" and hundreds more were launched. Is everything all right now? Have these families been able to get back to their everyday lives? And now you will find out.

The reason why no media channel is reporting anymore on this tragedy is quite simple and should be obvious to all of us. The disaster is in the past tense and no longer generates interesting news. All that counts is business, or what is the same, audience ratings. Such human catastrophes are of no interest to the masses anymore and they fall into oblivion. This, even though Italy is so dear to us. Millions of Europeans consider Italy as a wonderful holiday destination and visit the country every year. "Si mangia bene in Italia" and those who have visited the north of Italy, have also tasted its wonderful dish of "Spaghetti all'Amatriciana"! Italy and Amatrice are worth more than just three days of sensationalism!

Today is the 22nd of June 2017 and 10 months ago an unimaginable series of earthquakes began shaking the region around Amatrice. To date, the INGV (Instituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia) has counted over 5,000 aftershocks, of which I have witnessed and felt 6 these days. They are moments of terror, for it is always uncertain how strong the earth shakes and how long the quake will last. My small team, consisting of Dr. Josephine Scheppeit (official translator), Dr. Luca Bruschi (Engineer) and I entered the strictly guarded and publicly blocked "zona rossa", the red zone of Amatrice, with a previously specially granted permit.

This bread should have been ready early in the morning and contributed to a great start into the day.
At this moment, there are no winners.
The supermarket in Amatrice - buried under rubble.

No picture and no video can convey what we felt. It is hot, there is a foul muddy smell lying over the still present debris of the city. Our eyes burn and we have tears in our eyes. This is partly due to the sticky and dusty air and partly due to our sadness. You can see mattresses, rags, toys and furnishings of all kinds. Even the post addressed to the dead still lies unopened on the streets. I see personal documents, car licenses and private pictures. What an unbelievable state! This, even though 10 months have already passed after the disaster happened. Where are the helpers, where is the machinery to at least clean up the area?

Our guide is Daniele. He works at the "vigili del fuoco", the professional fire brigade of Amatrice and was one of the first rescuers on site. On several occasions, his voice failed during the tour due to the memories that were awakened. He rescued innumerable injured people, but also many dead from the destroyed homes. Among them were also family members and friends. He dug them out from the rubble with bare hands. He carried the corpses away where all the dead were being sent to. He was constantly accompanied by a doctor and a pastor. He told of the acrid smell of decay, which, like a cloud, engulfed the city shortly after. Two days after the earthquake, the annual large festival of Amatrice was supposed to take place.

Almost all households had already purchased food and extra meat for the feast. With the earthquake and power outage, the decay process began. Countless pets were also found dead and many bodies could only be recovered after several days. Daniele told us that the plan was to clear away the debris, but there were no machinery or transportation vehicles. Why, he did not know, because it was not in his area of responsibility. He was only a simple firefighter, and the politicians responsible for the urban planning visited the disaster area at the beginning of the catastrophe in fine suits, accompanied by delegations of all kinds, never to be seen again.

Everything remains just as it was after the quake. All that has disappeared is the politicians, the helpers and the snow. Otherwise everything is quiet as death here. We spoke with embittered victims, affected persons and family members. People who live with their families in camping cars or containers. The silent rage is enormous and everyone wonders when the promised help will come. Where exactly are the donated funds? The EU and the Italian government's aid monies? Many of the people affected specifically asked me to carry out a thorough and extensive investigation to generate some kind of results. Even if these results simply turn out to be the accusation and arrest of those people responsible for corruption and embezzlement.

So, for me, this report also implies the beginning of a meticulous research. I will write to all national and international relief organizations who have made and or received donations for Amatrice and ask questions. I will contact the responsible politicians in Italy to find out why the region and the people are so abandoned that many get envious of the refugees who get helped sooner and better. The Italian military is also in possession of heavy machinery and vehicles of all kinds. Within a few weeks, at least the whole area could be cleaned up. Why is nothing being done about it?

Dear readers, I will keep you informed about the results of my research. But I will also try and help the victims. Together with the crowdfunding agency Crowdfunding International, I started the international aid campaign Amatrice. My next visit to Amatrice will be in November of this year. I aim to report on the current situation, the first results of my research but I also wish to arrive again in Amatrice with real help and relief for the victims. Would you also like to contribute to this before the coming winter? Then please contact me. We will gladly welcome your help! Many thanks in advance.

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