Families concerned about relatives in Italy

April 6, 2009 (CHICAGO) All day long, through the shockwaves and the thunderstorms, rescue workers continued searching for survivors in the rubble.

The earthquake centered about sixty miles from Rome in mountainous central Italy. More than 1,400 people have been injured. Tens of thousands are homeless.

Some Italian families in Chicago are still trying to reach loved ones there.

Paula D'Angelo lives in Chicago's Little Italy neighborhood but has dozens of family members in the Abruzzo region where the quake hit. She heard from one of them first thing on Monday morning.

"I immediately turned on the news and that led to us calling everybody else to find out where are you, are you all right? I'm very happy to say our family is fine," said D'Angelo.

"I feel not good because I very far from Italy. I want to stay there now," said Annalisa Delgrande.

Delgrande, 25, worries that the earthquake that spared her family may have claimed the lives of some of her friends. Although in the U.S. for an internship, the Delgrande is from a village just a short distance from the epicenter of the natural disaster that killed dozens and left thousands more either injured or homeless in Italy's Abruzzo region.

"I was very worried when my sister text me," said Delgrande.

Delgrande says at least two neighbors in her hometown of Advanzano died in the earthquake that struck around 3:30 in the morning, affecting some 26 towns and cities around L'Aquila in the mountainous region of central Italy.

The Italy's Consulate in Chicago has been busy answering questions and trying to help those with relatives in the affected region with information. Communications for the most part remain disrupted.

"The main preoccupation is displaced people that have to find a place where to sleep," said Alessandro Motta, Consul General of Italy.

While residents and rescue workers haul away debris from collapsed landmark, ancient churches, and other buildings, concern remains high around the world and in Chicago especially among the city's Italian American population. Several groups are organizing aid efforts and say the earthquake stole more than just human lives.

"There's no way to restore something that was done by a Michelangelo contemporary. So we're very concerned about that. But most concerned about the human suffering and people who may be under the rubble somewhere," said Dominic DiFrisco, Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans.

If you want to help the victims of the Italy earthquake, visit http://www.conschicago.esteri.it/Consolato_Chicago.

Also, individuals, corporations and foundations who wish to donate to the Abruzzo/NIAF Relief Fund can make their donations online at www.niaf.org/relief.

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