Gillian Price, author of the Cicerone guidebooks to walking in Umbria and Sibillini has sent in this news about the impact of the earthquakes in Italy.
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this. Here in Italy day after day we are seeing newspaper photos and TV footage of the extensive devastation caused by the recent October 24 and 30 earthquakes that hit central Italy.
We're talking about southeast Umbria and the southern Marche with the Sibillini mountains and its villages. Thankfully there were no victims this time - unlike the August quakes. At the first signs of tremors, this time round many people took to sleeping in their cars or the sports centres and tents set up the Italian authorities. With the ongoing situation, many have now been evacuated - most of the inhabitants of Norcia are in hotels on Lake Trasimeno, while the people from the Marche are on the Adriatic coast. But their homes are in ghost towns. Aid and assistance by volunteers and the authorities is excellent but it's a huge job. Having spent week after glorious week exploring these places on foot for my Sibillini and Umbria walking guides over recent years, it's especially sad for me to see the pictures of the hospitable villages and hamlets that have been affected, and wonder how on earth the inhabitants are coping. Rome has promised reconstruction but for the time being roads, business, schools, farms, homes and public buildings need to be checked and people looked after, especially as winter approaches and the weather turns wet and cold.
Leafing through my guidebook to the Sibillini brings tears to my eyes. Visso (p35, 75), Campi, Fiastra... the beautiful Valnerina closed to traffic after rockfalls caused the river to flood, the charming hilltop township of Castellucio di Norcia (cover pic on my Sibillini guide) is cut off - inhabitants were helicoptered out and shepherds will take livestock out on foot or by special 4WD trucks.
Yesterday we saw the damage at Sant'Eutizio abbey and Preci (pp18, 135, 137+138 Sibillini guide). The pictures of the collapsed church of St Benedict in the main square at Norcia have been broadcast the world over. The canyons such as Infernaccio (p116) and lakes such as Pilato (pp148, 151, 157) are out of bounds for the time being, Rifugio del Fargno (p102) is cut off.
Our friends at the Castellare Agriturismo (pp59) are finding it hard going; their nerves are shot to bits by the ongoing tremors, in addition to the house being damaged, now the weather has turned cold with rain and strong winds and they have no electricity. (This family were amongst the many 'contadini' who risked their lives to shelter British servicemen during WW2).
People are struggling to find some 'normality', recover from the shock of the earthquakes, as well as get back on their feet and recover their livelihood.Gillian Price
As regards visitors, for the time being walkers are advised not to venture into the Sibillini and Umbria's Nera valley. Rockfalls are widespread and many paths are unsafe, and accommodation temporarily unusable or even unreachable. The authorities have a massive job to do without worrying about walkers and paths.
I have no doubt that anyone who has visited and trekked in this beautiful part of Italy will react as I did, with immense sadness at such devastation, but also with a desire to react and help.
One way to help is by making a donation.
Here are the details for donating via the Italian Alpine Club CAI:
Bank account/Conto corrente “IL CAI PER IL SISMA DELL’ITALIA CENTRALE (LAZIO, MARCHE E UMBRIA)” Banca Popolare di Sondrio – Agenzia Milano 21 IBAN IT06 D056 9601 6200 0001 0373 X15
SWIFT code POSOIT2108Y
Otherwise via the Italian Red Cross:
"Terremoto Centro Italia" IBAN: IT40F0623003204000030631681 BIC/SWIFT: CRPPIT2P086
Online donations can be made at the English language page: https://www.cri.it/flex/FixedPages/IT/DonaOra.php/L/EN/IDCausale/36/Importo/10/AltroImporto/-/Dona/Donate%20now/BL/KnBhZ2VzL1NlcnZlQkxPQi5waHAvU1VfL2hvbWU%3D/X/1?uniq=698ae29f457b13828b4e6f17d993dc99