Today is the very sad day for Italy. There was the very strong Earthquake (6.3 on the Richter scale) in the centaral Italy, near Rome, with the epicentre close to the city of L'Aquila.
More than 150 people have been killed and more than 50.000 made homeless.
The area around L'Aquila has been the scene of intense earthquake activity since October. There was another smaller tremor around midnight which measured 4.6 on the Richter scale. L'Aquila is a picturesque medieval town and has been hit by severe tremors twice before, in 1461 and 1703. Both times the city was virtually destroyed.
An italian Seismologist, Gioacchino Giuliani, predicted a serious earthquake and warned that "a big one" was on the way and even toured the region in a van with loudspeakers warning people, as late as last week. But he was reported to the police by authorities for "needlessly spreading panic" and also dismissed by L'Aquila's mayor and other civic officials. Dr Giuliani based his theory on increasingly high levels of radon gas that had been noted in the area and even posted his findings on his website. However, he was forced to take them down and the site has not been working.
Thanks god, all our family and friends are safe.
My prayers and thoughts go out to the victims, families, friends and rescue teams.