this morning a massive 6.3 magnitude earthquake rocked l'aquila, the capital of the abbruzzo region of italy - at least 50 people are dead, and the death toll will mount as the rescue workers search the debris. this news is intensely personal for me, not only is abruzzo the region of italy that my family comes from, but i have friends and family who live in l'aquila and the surrounding towns.
in fact, my mother's family is from sulmona - which is only about 50 kilometers distant from l'aquila. i spent a lot of time walking the streets of l'aquila during the summer of 1984 - it's a beautiful, medieval city. it saddens me to hear that entire blocks of the city collapsed and there is significant damage to those still standing.
i learned of the earthquake less than an hour ago, when my mother called me with the news. luckily, none of our family or friends were injured.
my prayers go out to the victims of this tragic event.
update: the ny times reports the number of dead has reached 150 and that 40,000 - 50,000 people have been left homeless in the wake of the earthquake!
update: news the day after: the death toll has now risen to above 200 - but, thankfully, the number of people left homeless has been reduced to 15,000.