Within the span of four days, three powerful earthquakes devastated the central Umbria region of Italy. Stone and concrete structures, common in this mountainous province, previously compromised by the massive 6.2 magnitude earthquake in Amatrice on August 24, which killed nearly 300 people, offered little resistance. Centuries-old structures, many of historical significance, were reduced to rubble as the earth shook.
Miraculously, a series of smaller earthquakes preceded the two powerful quakes on October 26, which resulted in most people fleeing their homes. While dozens sustained injuries, there were thankfully no reported deaths. The first earthquake struck at 7:11 pm (local time) with a 5.5 magnitude and was centered 9 km (5.59 miles) south-southwest of the town of Visso, between Perugia and Macerata. The second earthquake occurred at 9:18 pm (local time) with a magnitude of 6.1 and was centered 3.2 km (2 miles) north of Visso. Both quakes were shallow, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A third and powerful earthquake with a magnitude 6.6 struck 6 km (3.73 miles) north of Norcia at 7:40 am on October 30, 2016. As with the previous earthquakes and contrary to the widespread devastation, remarkably there were no reported deaths.
Landslides, large boulders, and debris blocked narrow roads that connected many of the small stone villages in the area, hampering rescue efforts.
The Civil Protection Agency of Italy, in response to October earthquakes in central Italy, re-deployed the donated BLU-MED mobile hospital to Norcia, in southeastern Umbria. Within 72 hours, the BLU-MED facility was setup, not as a mobile hospital, but as a command center to coordinate the rescue efforts being carried out by the Civil Protection Agency and the City of Norcia. “It has been extremely useful, especially now with temperatures dropping” stated a representative with the Civil Protection Agency.
The 50-bed BLU-MED mobile hospital was donated to the Civil Protection Agency in 2009 following the deadly L’Aquila Earthquake that killed 297 people, injured 1,500, and left more than 65,000 people homeless.
The unmatched ability to easily convert a 50-bed mobile hospital to a rescue command center is a testament to the adaptability and re-deployable capability of BLU-MED shelter systems. BLU-MED maintains a disaster response stockpile for immediate deployment around the world. The disaster response stockpile includes turnkey mobile hospitals, medical shelters, command centers, office and work space, mobile trailer systems, and housing accommodations for up to 10,000 people.
If you would like more information about BLU-MED Response Systems®, our products, or services, please call us at +1-425-739-2795.