When the earthquake struck Italy, Antonio was at the heart of the relief effort

1st March 2017

“I have always thought that working for the Civil Protection was one of the most beautiful and rewarding jobs I could hope to be involved in, playing an active role in such a dramatic contest of human disaster.  It gives me the opportunity to truly sharpen my emotional skills, my empathy with local people who have lost everything and gives me the ability to do something that will help others in need.”

At 3.36am on August 24th 2016, an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 hit central Italy. At 6.30am Antonio travelled to the town of Amatrice as Latium Region Representative to coordinate the emergency management and support the Mayor in the aftermath.

“When I arrived, I had the distinct impression that this earthquake was more serious than the 2009 Aquila earthquake in terms of damages and losses. Arriving at Amatrice, I saw an exodus of people with wild eyes, dusty faces and hair with dried blood walking along the highway. I listened to the noise of trampled rubble and I saw people digging, with the bodies of the wounded lying in safe places while the aftershocks were continuing.

“I was committed to managing the re-start-up of all life conditions and to find good areas for tent camps and shelters. I faced a number of different challenges, from organising the Command Operations Centre to finding a suitable space, full of dignity, for those who had died. It was difficult finding areas for tents, assisting the wounded and giving aid to farmers and livestock. On top of it all, it was difficult giving a word, a caress, a comfort to those who had in seven seconds lost everything: past, present and future.”

Two weeks after the earthquake Antonio was appointed as executive in charge of finding safe areas to install temporary housing units. This would allow the local population to live in the epicentre area until the complete reconstruction.

“I am proud to have shared empathy with the local population and the territory of Amatrice, who have had their misfortunes, their ruins and despair. These feelings become yours even if you can’t show them because we are trying to build the resilience of the population.”

Antonio’s work has made a true difference in his home country of Italy. He epitomises what it is to be an active global citizen and we are very proud to have him as member of our alumni network.

“As a venturer on Operation Raleigh in Chile, 1986, I learnt something from all my colleagues and staff, especially in the difficult environmental conditions. It is hard to choose one of the many things I gained with Raleigh, but if I had to choose one, I would say it gave me the ability to deal with other people, opening my mind to different mentalities, lifestyles, languages, traditions and cultures.

“My message to all young people is: have the courage to change, passion to believe, take action to achieve your dream and do not be afraid to make mistakes, because all these things are your life.”

Our alumni are constantly impressing us with their stories of active citizenship. Have you got an inspiring story to tell? Get in touch at alumni@raleighinternational.org

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