Earthquake Emilia and its Aftershocks

(May-June 2012)

The earthquakes caused widespread and significant damage. This land had long been considered a non-seismic area and many of the houses and industrial estates, old and new, had not been built according to strict seismic rules. As a result, earthquakes with a magnitude that was strong but potentially not destructive (when compared to other areas of the world that suffer greater shocks) ended up causing considerable disruption.

The two main earthquakes came as a complete shock. There had been a minor earthquake in the previous days, felt by a small portion of the population, but no one left their homes, as it was considered an unusual and isolated event. 


As a result of the main shocks, 27 people died and approximately 400 were wounded.  45,000 people had to leave their homes: some temporarily, for a period of time ranging between a month and a year; many for good, because they houses were completely destroyed or deemed unsafe (and later demolished). Up to 4000 people still live in rented flats and are waiting for authorizations from the local council to re-build their houses.

The earthquakes also caused significant damage to the economy of the area, to factories and agricultural land in the entire region. This was a highly productive area, with many important bio-medical companies, which used to export all over the world (in particular chemo-therapy equipment). The production came to a halt for a few months. Also, the production of Grana Padano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese was badly affected; approximately 300,000 wheels were destroyed, causing great losses to an industry that had been employing a large portion of the local population. For more information of Dr. Licia Masoni's work, Read More...