Monday, April 27, 2009

News from the Charity for Abruzzo in Amsterdam

Last Thursday, 23rd April, we held in Amsterdam a charity evening for the victims of the earthquake in Abruzzo. The University of Amsterdam (UvA) participated in this event in order to collect funds to help the academic life in L'Aquila to start again.

We could use their beautiful Aula Magna, located in the Old Lutheran Church in the centre of Amsterdam, and the president of the University, dr. Karel van der Toorn, held a short speech (starting in an excellent Italian) and one minute silence for the victims.

The first part of the evening was called: A trip to Abruzzo, a short show with literary readings, opened by singer Carla Regina who sang three pieces that talked to everybody's hearth, under the projection of the moon's picture you see above, made by Antonio di Maggio.

Dancer Margherita Bencini followed with an improvisation on the theme of the earthquake, accompanied by the pictures Dario van Houwelingen took in Abruzzo on Easter's day.

Followed a piece I wrote especially for this evening in Dutch (parts of it you read already here and in my Italian blog Mammamsterdam, with a musical intermezzo of Luciano Maio.

Willem Kroonberg ended this trip with three poems of Gabriele D'Annunzio in Dutch.

After the break followed the auction of some of the pictures Antonio di Maggio made (you see here the three that are still available. If you buy one of them, you will bring money to the fund for the earthquake).

But also artists Lidia Palumbi, Roberto Caradonna and Gino Calenda di Tavani generously gave some of their best works for the acution. My husband surprised me with one of the chalkworks of Roberto, an artists I always admired.

I will leave you with this last picture (the first two, you might have recognised them, are the Fountain of the 99 Cannelle', and the Spanish Fort in L'Aquila) which has been taken by Antonio by Fontecchio.

It symbolizes in my eyes that nature will prevail on manswork, always. Either by an earthquake, or by flowers growing on the ruins.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

the 49 towns eligible for special earthquake support

Provincia dell'Aquila: Acciano, Barete, Barisciano, Castel del Monte, Campotosto, Capestrano, Caporciano, Carapelle Calvisio, Castel di Ieri, Castelvecchio Calvisio, Castelvecchio Subequeo, Cocullo, Collarmele, Fagnano Alto, Fossa, Gagliano Aterno, Goriano Sicoli, L'Aquila, Lucoli, Navelli, Ocre, Ofena, Ovindoli, Pizzoli, Poggio Picenze, Prata D'Ansidonia, Rocca di Cambio, Rocca di Mezzo, San Demetrio nè Vestini, San Pio delle Camere, Sant'Eusanio Forconese, Santo Stefano di Sessanio, Scoppito, Tione degli Abruzzi, Tornimparte, Villa Sant'Angelo e Villa Santa Lucia degli Abruzzi.
Provincia di Teramo: Arsita, Castelli, Montorio al Vomano, Pitracamela e Tossicia.
Provincia di Pescara: Brittoli, Bussi sul Tirino, Civitella Casanova, Cugnoli, Montebello di Bertona, Popoli e Torre de' Passeri.

This is the list of 49 towns that have been declared eligible for extraordinary subsidies t help reconstruction after the earthquake. They have all suffered damages calculated as more than a degree 6 earthquake according to the Mercalli scale, which is the most used in Italy.

The Mercally scale has for each earthquake a 12 points descriptions scale, which goes from 1 (a quake perceived only by instruments) to 12 (total distruction).

Of course in the past days there were lots of discussions on which towns were eligible for the list. Because towns not included will get no special benefits, but might have still suffered minor damages.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quake sisterhood

I was reading the online papers this morning. First baby to be christened after the earthquake today in one of the camps around L'Aquila. One to come to light any moment. All good news, because children and new life can give a perspective of future even in the darkest moments.

Insurance companies are sending inspectors and detectives to collect cement samples and information on the collapsed building. Their motto: be prepared.

One of the dams in the lake of Campotosto has been build in the 70ies just above a fault line. Nothing wrong with the dam at the moment, by they are working at simulation models at the moment, just to know what could happen, should weird things occur.

The mayor of l'Aquila is all the time on all net with perfectly crisp shirts and freshly ironed clothes. His fellow citizens, taking a shower once a week from the tnt camp, cannot quite follow what he is actually talking about on future plans for their city, but say they would appreciate if he would pop by and talk to them too, every now and then. At least to ask him the adress of his laundrette.

And last, but not least, I read of an earthquake in East Afghanistan, 5.1 Richter. And I callen my friend Mariam to ask if she had any news of her family there. She didn't know, just like we didn't know a couple of Mondays ago, when friends start calling to ask how things were going.

"We are sisters in quake" I told her. Because Afghanistan might be a little farther away from my backyard than Abruzzo, but a quake is a quake, and the misery it causes is the same under the stars. She hung quickly up to turn on TV.

PS: another of the L'Aquila Pictures of Antonio Di Maggio. Hier the facade of the church of San Bernardino (now damaged by the earthquake. My grandma used to go and play in the big stairs oing down, when she was finishing her elementary school in L'Aquila with her sisters. In Ofena they had only the firts three clsses, so first Amelia and Filomena were send to live in with their uncle Antonio Silveri. The young girls were already able to run a household and cook, so the idea was that they could help their uncle in that sort of chores, and he would chaperon them in the big city, as he was also working in education (he ended up his career as a school inspector and a writer).

Later the other Silvestroni girls followed. My gradmother Peppina regretted her entire life that she did not make most of her education chances, but when TBC broke up in her boarding school, her mom took her home and she never completed schooling.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pictures from Ofena

I will start, now and the coming days, to publish a few pictures of Ofena and Abruzzo in general, made by Antonio Di Maggio a couple of years ago for a guide of the region with recipes and local stories I am working at.

Antonio is one of the best photographers I know and he is particularly gifted with portraits. This time it's mostly landscapes, but you will notice his eyes for the details and his gift of catching unique moments, before they go forever.

Here you see Vicolo del Forno, behind Angelo Delfino and Maria Teresa's house. I remember I used to play in this building as a child, because back then, though roofles and abandoned, it was still standing. A few years later it collapsed, totally.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Here a picture made in L'Aquila by Marianna Sansone, who now is in Pescara and does all she can to help the escaped friends from L'Aquila who lost everything.

I recognize this urge of doing things, now. I feel exactly the same. Doing, just to avoid any too negative, alas realistic, thinking.

But it's not about that.

What I invite you o consider is how new houses may be damaged. Modern building entails a skeleton of concrete, and in most houses of this type the skeleton held all very well. But especially in the lower floor, you may have this sort of holes.

And if the instability affects staircases, you have exactly the situation Raffaele Cantera explained me yesterday on the phone. They live at the fourth floor (third would we say in Italy) and their apartment is apparenty intact, but because the first staircase between first and second floor collapsed, they cannot go easily home. They managed to go a couple of times to collect the bare necessities, but have been sleeping outside the last couple of nights.

They just moved to Ofena, but I just heard from Stefania De Luca that there they are also staying as much as possible outside, because you never know if anything is going to fall on your head, should a shock occur.

So I imagine that all the places in between, like Barisciano, are very much in the same shape.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Tomorrow the funerals in L'Aquila. All the dead have been brought at the caserma della guardia di Finanza. May their souls rest in peace.

God bless corporate communication! TNT is taking initatives to help the victims of the earthquake, and since I commend any initiative in this sense, I am publishing this:

Here is a picture of zia Vittoria my cousin Dan Emanuele send me. It is so very much her, with the typical Silvestroni features (yes, that's where my nose comes from). And typical her in her terrace, bursting of pots, plants and flowers (remember the picture of her house in the previous post? In the broken down part you see her big agaves's).

Today I decided to get into some healthy action. All this reading, writing, organizing the fund raising, talking to people, being filmed by the TV, enough. Some Easter cleaning seems the best reaction. I still have a house to clean after all, and for the first time in my life I realize how blessed am I for this.

Then I crawled again behind this screen. Luckily friend Monique is coming by, so now I have a extra good reason to clean at least the table. Yesterday, when the TV guys came, there was no decent place ti film, except before the bookshelf, but they filmed also a wooden plank with some chese and salami I left there for the childre.

They had to take care of themselves after school, yesterday, which they certainly did. All the chocolatey and yogurthey things in the house are gone.

This tells a lot on the healthy survival instinct of small kids, when mom is busy. I just don't dare to tell them what actually happened, it's not really necessary at this age and Elianto would get real worried and scared, if I know him (and Luca is already in one on his phases, so no need to get him behave even weirder than he is).

But it is hard. I read the papers on the net when they sleep and hide when I feel like crying. All I wanted until yesterday was to crawl in a dark corner with a blanked on my head and cry myself in sleep. I only managed to sleep one and a half hour before dinner, while my kids where freely watching all of Tom and Jerry's cartoons on youtube.

Which explains why, when yesterday I asked them to decorate with the alphabet stamps the placemats for the school Easter breakfast, Luca wanted to stamp Tom and Jerry. He is training to get totally indipendent from bigger people when digiting it on the keyboard. Oh, I guess that's how modern kids learn to write, these days.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

A provisional list of the victims of the earthquake si to be found here:

Except from my auntie Vittoria Silvestrone, no other known names. But I read it very fast.

The earthquake in Abruzzo has kept all of us busy the last three days. But I knew from my friends in L'Aquila that already for a couple of months they felt weekly some small shocks. Point is, nobody ever talked about this. In Italy people are discovering only now how bad the situation is.

You get an idea from the picture above, it is the helft of the house of my aunt Vittoria. She slept in the broken down part, they recovered her body yesterday.

Miss Kappa is one of my blogger friends who was rescued from under the ruins of her house by her husband and neighbours. At the moment they are living in the emergency tents camp in l'Aquila. She and her family lost everything, except the will to tell the world that the authorities are lying now on the actual nummbers (they claim 200 dead, she thinks is more 1000), and they refuse to take responsability for not warning the population on time.

I can imagine now that the situation is horribly confused and that the prioritites are finding people still alive under the ruins (just now the saved a young woman after 42 hours under her house) and curing and sheltering the survivors. Communication is therefore not ideal, which is a bit ironic if you think how the global media have been covering the event those days.

I am not even sure if they already have plans to bury the dead, and if there are going to be proper funerals, if the families have to organize this, of is there a masterplan for this sort of acts of god.

We only know we lost my auntie Vittoria in Onna, the last of the matriarchs of the Silvestroni family from Ofena. In the coming days I will try to post daily all info I can collect, especially for you guys overseas. For me it is quite unreal to watch these pictures of ruins and recognize places where I used to live, to study and to work. May this is the difference: I can name most of these pictures (luckily, not the people I've seen in them).

The church of Santa Maria a Paganica above is one of the many ruined monuments. I used to sit often on the staircase right. I hope, and I will work on this, that in the future, once the most urgent problems are solved, that I can help restore as much as possible as it was.

How arroganrt, really, of Mr. Berlusconi, to claim as a first thing that we need nobody's help to recover from this drama. We must gratefully accept all possible help. Because this is the place I want my children to call theirs. Their home in Italy.

Credits pictures: I took them from the website of de Spiegel, if I am breaking any copyright law, please contact me and I will take them away