Italy drone footage reveals earthquake damage following winter blast

By David Jacobson, Temblor

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Drone footage released yesterday by Italy’s fire service has revealed images of the small town of Amatrice, which was severely damaged in the 24 August 2016 M=6.2 earthquake. The fire service, which was heavily involved in search and rescue operations following the earthquake has now used drone footage to patrol areas heavily damaged. The footage, which shows snow blanketing the rubble and buildings, shows the scape of damage.

Drone footage released by the Italian fire service shows the destruction in city of Amatrice, following winter snowfall. (Image from Italian fire service drone footage)


In the M=6.2 August earthquake, nearly 300 people were killed, up to 15,000 were left homeless, and several Italian towns were turned to rubble. The region was then hit by a M=6.6 quake in October 2016. Fortunately, this earthquake did not cause substantial damage or fatalities, as many of the areas hit hard had already been evacuated or closed following the August event. During all this time however, many left homeless lived in makeshift camps or temporary structures set up around the region.

While most of the streets in Amatrice have been cleared, it will still take a long time for the rubble to be cleared, after which, the rebuild can take place. (Image from Italian fire service drone footage)


This footage also illustrates how recovery from an earthquake that causes this type of destruction is a long process, and the town of Amatrice will never be the same. Now, as services try to clear rubble and secure the buildings still standing, winter blasts have hit the country, resulting in the coldest temperatures seen in 20 years. This is not the only weather-related setback that has hampered recovery efforts, as shortly following the earthquakes, rain made the area nearly inaccessible.

The recent snowfall, which has blanketed much of Italy, highlights the severe damage in Amatrice. (Image from Italian fire service drone footage)


While Italy has set aside approximately €4.5 million to help fund a rebuild of 62 municipalities, it is clear from these images that reconstruction will not take place any time soon. When new construction does take place, improved seismic standards will be used. This was a major problem in the earthquakes as the majority of destroyed buildings were old brick structures incapable of withstanding large shaking. Once the rebuild does begins, it will be closely monitored to ensure funds are used properly.

In addition to having to clear rubble, efforts are also in place to secure buildings still standing. These efforts have been hindered many times due to inclement weather. (Image from Italian fire service drone footage)


Italy Fire Service (Vigili del Fuoco)
The Guardian