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Specialists monitoring aftermath in Italy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Southern Baptist disaster relief specialists are monitoring the situation in L’Aquila, Italy, after an April 6 earthquake killed at least 207 people and left 100,000 homeless.

Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization, has categorized the response as a Level 2 emergency, meaning that any Southern Baptist response most likely will occur through local Italian partners trained in specific disaster relief techniques.

“Italy has a long history of earthquakes and the government there has responded very well to the situation,” said Jim Brown, U.S. director for Baptist Global Response. “The situation is under control and they are not seeking additional help. We will, however, continue to monitor the situation and will mobilize Southern Baptist disaster relief teams if that becomes necessary.”

Abraham Shepherd, BGR’s area director for Europe, said he is in contact with field partners about response needs. They are investigating the need for an assessment team to visit L’Aquila.

The quake, which registered 6.3 on the Richter scale, struck at 3:32 a.m. at a point about 70 miles northeast of Rome, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. A total of 280 aftershocks have followed, one registering a magnitude of 4.7 that collapsed several damaged buildings.

Rescue workers have pulled 150 people alive from the rubble and 15 are reported as missing, according to news reports. An estimated 1,500 people are being treated for injuries. The quake flattened buildings in 26 communities. Rain was falling on the region as bottles of water and food boxes were handed out to survivors who were preparing to spend the night in tents or cars.

Lori Funderburk, prayer coordinator for Baptist Global Response, asked Christians to focus on five concerns:

— Pray that those who are still missing will be found.

— Ask God to comfort people who are injured.

— Pray that quake victims’ needs will be met quickly and effectively.

— Ask the Lord to provide shelter for those who lost their homes.

— Pray that people would experience God’s love in this crisis.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly. Baptist Global Response is on the Internet at gobgr.org.

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