After two months of continuous earth tremors a further 31 rocked the small Central Italian town of Mignano Montelungo at the weekend.
After two months of continuous earth tremors a further 31 rocked the small Central Italian town of Mignano Montelungo at the weekend. This brings the number of tremors to nearly 600 since September. Half the population of 2,000 are now living in tents outside the town and help is desperately needed.
Only about 200 people are still living in the town. Some of the rest have fled the area but most are living in primitive conditions in tents. After nights of cold and rain during which women and children shivered, unable to sleep, the Mayor, Signor Mattia Guadagno, issued an urgent appeal to the Italian Red Cross for help.
The authorities have been distributing clothing and blankets to the homeless but the Mayor says that it is vital that wooden huts be build for the evacuees before the worst of winter comes. He adds that the situation is already critical.
The army has helped with emergency relief and nuns are busy providing food for the homeless but amenities for the people living in tents are pitifully few.
Unfortunately for the people Mignano Montelungo, their town is not the only one in Italy needing assistance after the earth tremors. Earlier this year movements and rumblings led to a mass exodus from the ancient city of Pozzuoli, near Naples. Fearing a full-scale earthquake, more than half of the population of 65,000 poured out in army lorries. buses, cars and trains.
Possuoli straddles the edge of the Bay of Naples in the middle of one of the world's most famous volcanic zones. Vesuvius, which last erupted in 1944, is just around the corner.
Apart from the immediate need to relieve suffering, the long-term problem for Mignano Montelungo is that its people who have fled to neighbouring towns may never return, if they can find jobs. And those who have stayed my eventually be forced to go elsewhere to get work unless their city is declared safe in the near future.