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Day 2: Finale Emilia Earthquake May 21, 2012
Post Series: Finale Emilia, Italy 2012 M 6.0

We manage to get into the “red zone” of Finale Emilia. The damage here is significant: the clock tower collapsed, the main church and the castle are heavily damaged and there are cracks in the walls of houses in the old town, built of stone and brick. Pieces of cultural heritage have been destroyed and a little bit of the identity of these people along with it.

Rescuers accompany people, especially older ones, to retrieve their belongings from their homes; a man asks if he can retrieve a tray of “tagliatelle”, the homemade pasta typical of these places. We go to the Emergency Operations Centre to inform them of our availability to carry out inspections to assess the damage in buildings. The assessments will start shortly; at this time only rescue teams coordinated by the Civil Defense are on the field.

Moving from Finale Emilia we see the first tented camp, there are about 4,000 displaced people throughout the affected area.

In the afternoon we visit the nearby town of Sant’Agostino. The town hall of Sant’Agostino has been heavily damaged; it is a historic building of considerable importance. This is where 4 people died in the collapse of a warehouse in a ceramics factory. The building was a prefabricated structure and contained high shelves for the storage of ceramic tiles. The after-shocks have probably brought down the shelves with their heavy load on prefabricated structures, which have not withstood the earthquake. These failures illustrate the importance of earthquake design for non-structural elements and anchors!

We move to Bondeno, where a worker was killed in the collapse of an insulation manufacturing plant. In the facility yard, a tall stainless steel tank collapsed.

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