Last night I woke up at 3:30 in the morning feeling the entire room shaking around me. The quakes lasted for at least 30 seconds and set off what seemed like every car alarm in the vicinity. After the noise died down though, I was able to go back to sleep. The people in the towns of Amatrice, Accumoli and Arquata del Tronto in the center of Italy, weren't as lucky.
So far CNN reports 120 dead and almost twice as many injured. The mayor of Amatrice described the aftermath as, "the town is no more". With hundreds without homes and rescuers still searching for survivors in the rubble, the center of Italy is still in a state of shock and distress.
This disaster is just one more in a string of incidents that Europe has faced in the past year. Bombings, shootings, and natural disasters have taken their toll on EU citizens and travelers alike. One of the saddest side effects of these recent attacks is to discourage foreigners from traveling to beautiful and life changing places. We cannot let fear, either of terrorists or natural events, prevent us from seeing what these places have to offer.
So, instead of a post about travel tips or the best pizza in Rome, today I'm asking you to pray for the victims and survivors of this earthquake, and in spite of this, start planning your trip to Italy in the future.
If you would like to donate to the Italian Red Cross that has been instrumental to the rescue efforts, I've included some information below.
Money can be transferred to the Italian Red Cross with the IBAN: IT40F0623003204000030631681 and subject "Terremoto Centro Italia".