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Cinque Terre Flood: Vernazza Clean Up Progress
Many people have been wondering how the clean up is progressing in Vernazza. The photographs of the destruction from the flooding initially left me thinking this was an impossible task.
Then I began to hear back from the residents and new pictures of their valiant efforts along side relief workers from all areas of Italy began to surface.
Vernazza is emerging. Via Roma’s cobblestone path is again visible. Shops are being painstakingly cleared of mud and debris. Homes are beginning to be reconnected to water and sewer. Donation efforts are in full swing.
But there is so much still ahead.
I have been informed that the damages from the flood will not be covered by insurance because this was an ‘act of God.’ Winter is coming and with it cold and wet weather; the clean up effort is in a race against the clock. Residents will have to remain strong despite their physical and emotional losses. I can only imagine the effort it must take each day to overcome the urge to submit to defeat. They have lost businesses and income. They have lost friends. The bodies of the three residents from Vernazza washed up on the shores of France last week. Their stories of struggle are heart wrenching.
We are alive and we thank you Dad! Thank you for holding the door to give me the time to save my family and get them to safety atop the refrigerator. Thank you for calming the water giving us the opportunity to escape. I know it was you, your spirit, blocking the water and breaking the fury of the flood. I am thinking this as I realize that we have survived the impossible. To Read More….
We can make a difference in this tragedy; I encourage each one of you to reach out to this place that has given us all so many beautiful memories. Even the smallest of donations will help. Save Vernazza has an incredible website with on-line donations available through PayPal. Tell your friends; forward this message. Many people still do not know what has happened here as the story never made headlines in traditional news sources. We also need to remember that Vernazza needs our presence; put it on your travel itinerary next year. Without tourism, without us, Vernazza will waver.
In a time where we have all become disappointed and disillusioned by institutions and government, I have been inspired by the strength of community coming together around the world for this little place. The flooding itself is unspeakable; the committment and solidarity uplifting. I am reminded (as I often am when I travel) that just going through the motions every day is not good enough; it is the people around us that make this life worth living.
Donations and frequent updates at Save Vernazza, click here
A Touching Tribute Video showing the clean up
copyright 2011 Andi Brown Once in a Lifetime Travel
Cinque Terre, Vernazza Flood: Disaster Relief Information
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.
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:
+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
■Another fund should be available within the next few days as well. This site has been founded by several ex-pats who share a great love of Vernazza. They also are committed to keeping money donated within Vernazza. Please check back for updates. They are called Save Vernazza and can also be found on Facebook.
■If you would like to volunteer contact the Protezione Civile at +39 0126.96.36.199. 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.
Copyright 2011 Andi Brown Once in a Lifetime Travel
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