Cinque Terre, Vernazza flood update: Disaster Relief

Cinque Terre
Courtesy of Arbaspaa

Just one week ago Vernazza and Monterosso of the Cinque Terre along with several lesser known villages were devastated by massive flooding and mudslides.  The region had been experiencing tremendous rainfall but no one expected such destructive results.

At the present time the railway has been cleared, the river has been re-directed to its original route, some electricity has been restored and heavy machinery has been helping to clear the mud, rock and debris.  Everyone has rolled up their sleeves and come together as a community.  Unfortunately the sad stories are also surfacing.  I have read of merchants  barely escaping to the second level of their building, only to watch a fellow storekeeper unable to cling any longer to his awning be washed away.  There are currently 9 people dead (not all from the Cinque Terre) and several still missing.

Cinque Terre flooding
Courtesy of Giuliano Pucci

The heroic stories are out there as well.  Stories of tourists being plucked from the muddy river just in time.  Of the owners at Il Castello opening up to shelter those without.  Of the evacuation of the elderly and young.  Of locals helping tourists as if they were family.

How I love Vernazza.  How I love when humanity rises up when life has lashed out.

I have been watching the video footage and photos as the people come together to clean up and rebuild the area.  Vernazza has held such a special place in my life, my family’s life and my daughter’s life.  Passively watching these events unfold has been difficult for me.  Instinctively I want to reach out.  Many of you have been asking ‘How can I help?’

  • For those of you wanting to help Vernazza directly there is currently a relief fund set up by the Commune of Vernazza.  It is a non-profit, cultural organization set-up for and by the community of Vernazza, called Per Vernazza Futura (For Vernazza’s Future). Funds will help the people effected by the flood and landslide as well as being used for the reconstruction of the town and surrounding environment.  Per Vernazza Fortuna can be reached at the following:
    Email:
    vernazzafutura@gmail.com
    Phone:
    +39 0187821247.  Funds can be wired directly to the following account:             UBI Bank of San Giorgio
    Via Chiodo, 115
    La Spezia, Italy.   IBAN: IT37Q0552610730 000000001616   BIC: BPGGITG1  SWIFT: BLOPIT22
  • Save Vernazza is another group created by serveral Americans who call Vernazza home.  They are committed to using 100% of the funds to help rebuild and restore their village.  There website is amazing and has a direct link to donations.  They can also be found on Facebook.
  • If you would like to volunteer contact the Protezione Civile at +39 0187.69.51.81.  Lots of help is needed, but keep in mind there are no accommodations in the area as open rooms are housing those who have lost their homes. Boats depart from both La Spezia and Levanto every morning to bring people to the Cinque Terre.
  • The Italian Red Cross is also a good choice for those wanting to help the entire region effected.

I have read comments from a few people saying that Vernazza is a wealthy community and will overcome this disaster; they should be able to recover within a year or two.  They have said that we should not give our time and money when there is greater suffering with fewer resources in the world.  It is true that suffering and heartache happen around the world everyday.  No one is ever immune.  But who is to say that one persons suffering is worse than another’s?  Pain is pain, no matter what form.  I hope that my connection to this amazing place will in some small way help them to rise above and meet their challenge with success, strength and support.

I call out to everyone that has ever been touched by Vernazza.

Go Back.  Don’t write them off.

To those that have always wanted to visit.  Do Not Change Your Plans.  Put Vernazza back on your itinerary.

We must not only help them with their immediate needs, but help them recover for the long-term.  Let us fill their rooms and crowd their restaurants again.  We are all instrumental to Vernazza’s future.

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufMtG4w2hgU]

I put this video on youtube to try and spread the word and inspire people to help with the immediate relief efforts and restoration.

For more information and updates check back frequently on my Vernazza Flood page.

Copyright 2011 Andi Brown  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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About the author: Andi Brown

I am passionate about helping people create vacations that are perfect for them through personalized travel planning, itinerary review and small experience focused tours. My services put an emphasis on the experience of Italy, getting my clients away from the tourist crowds and into the heart and soul of the people. I believe in working with family run businesses at great locations with attention to the details. If you can dream it I can make it happen.

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  1. Barbara Ridley - 2011-11-02 at 5:32 am Reply

    Thank you for keeping us updated on events in Vernazza. It was horrifying to see those videos of the ramapaging water destroying that pretty town. My husband and I spend a lovely holiday there with our son and daughter-in-law, one we still fondly reminisce about. You are right in saying that it is a very special place. In spite of all the foreigners that course through there, people are still willing to be friendly and helpful. Our hearts go out to them. We will definitely return, and in the meantime, try to help.

  2. Katie Herbert - 2011-11-04 at 3:17 pm Reply

    My daughter and I stayed here just a month ago. I have to say we fell in love, with the place and the people. We left talking about how we knew we were going to come back. We had just done a tour of Europe and this was the only place we knew for sure we would return to. Our hearts are so saddened and we only pray that the people we got to know are all safe and sound. I will be contributing to the relief efforts so they may restore their beautiful peice of paradise.

  3. margieinitaly - 2011-11-04 at 9:41 pm Reply

    I too have been so saddened by the immense loss of a beautiful part of Italy. I just visited Vernazza and the other Cinque Terre towns this May for the first time and loved it. I enjoyed your posting and I am also promoting the Save Vernazza website for a way others can help by donating.

  4. i Harris - 2011-12-02 at 2:48 am Reply

    Also a place that remains special in my heart (1990) . what a place – and I am sue they will overcome the tradegy.

  5. Mike - 2011-12-05 at 12:15 pm Reply

    Hi I’m from Toronto, Canada and I’m planning to visit Cinque Terre this week on Friday December 9, Anybody has any updates about the flooding situation?

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