Four years of psychological and nursing assistance with over 13,000 free-of-charge consultations delivered to the population affected by the earthquake in Central Italy.
Since the summer of 2016, Central Italy has been hit by repeated earthquakes and aftershocks. In the subsequent months, weather conditions have further damaged an area that had already been left in dire condition by the earthquake, making daily life very difficult for the population – and not only in mountain villages. Even in the last few months, several new shocks were recorded.
We began working in Lazio after an earthquake hit Amatrice in the Summer of 2016 by analyzing the needs of the area and providing logistical and nursing support. Since February 2017, following requests from local institutions and in collaboration with ASL Termano (Montorio and Voman districts), we provided psychological assistance and nursing services in some areas of Teramo that were affected by the natural disaster. These include: Castelli, Nerito and Montorio al Vomano. Due to persistent tremors and heavy snowfall during the winter period, the remaining population in the affected villages lived in a state of constant unease and psychological fragility.
Our team – consisting of a psychologist, a nurse and a logistician – provides free assistance in an area of multiple needs, where health services cannot cope.
At the beginning of March 2018, a second team, composed of a nurse of psychologist, started working in the Macerata area, in Camerino, Muccia, Pieve Torina and Visso. In collaboration with ASUR Marche – Area Vasta 3.
"They are afraid, the continual aftershocks and the extraordinary snowfall over the winter have brought people to their knees. They suffered a major economic blow: especially in the hamlets around Amatrice – only a few businesses are still open. But they are showing a strong sense of dignity through the pain and difficulties, a strong attachment to their own land and a desire to start again. And we are here to help them."Daniela, EMERGENCY staff
The Mini Van and Mobile Unit
To guarantee access to our services to as many people as possible, our programme in central Italy includes a Mini Van and Mobile Unit, in order to easily reach isolated areas.
The Minivan is located in the Distretto Sanitario di Base di Montorio al Vomano, whereas our Mobile Unit operates in the most vulnerable areas of the Marche. In Camerino we mainly work in facilities made available to us thanks to local authorities.
The End of the Project
On 31 December 2021, after four years of activity, our ‘Earthquake Project’ came to an end, for reasons consistent with the objectives set by the intervention, which was created as a post-emergency response to the needs generated by the earthquakes and the impact they had on the local health service.
As a result of this assessment, the memoranda of understanding with the respective health authorities were not renewed on their annual expiry dates.
Since we launched the post-earthquake care service in Central Italy, more than 13,000 services in total were provided, including psychological interviews and nursing care.
Our hope is that the current needs of the population in the territories where we guaranteed the right to care and health, both physical and psychological, for years, will be managed by the local health authority in a widespread manner, so that the ‘culture of mental health’ of which Covid has made so many citizens aware of, will be promoted and rooted, to ensure that no one remains isolated and unheard.