Local Woman Watches Earthquake-Torn Italy With Heavy Heart

VENTURA (CBSLA.com) — A local woman is 6,000 miles from Italy but closely monitoring what is going on in the country devastated by a killer earthquake.

The death toll is about 250 and expected to climb.

The desperate search for survivors continues. Countless people have been buried under rubble since the magnitude-6.2 quake that hit early Tuesday morning.

KCAL9’s Peter Daut spoke with a woman originally from Italy who now lives in Ventura.

Her family  lives in the region largely reduced to rubble.

As Manuela Zaretti prepares to sell her house in Ventura her focus is on the home where her parents live, roughly 6,300 miles away in central Italy.

“It’s really very scary,” she said

She showed Daut a photo of their home, which suffered only minor damage; it was recently retrofitted to withstand earthquakes.

But not far from their home, many homes were leveled.

A nearby town of Amatrice is literally gone. A hotel collapsed there with many guests in town for the town’s annual pasta festival.

“Here you have to lift these huge masses of concrete, and one person can’t do it so you just sit there helpless. It’s horrible,” Zaretti said.

The quake struck about 100 miles northeast of Rome, killing at least 250 people and injuring hundreds of others.

In the hardest-hit town of Amatrice, rescue workers and desperate loved ones spent the day searching through crumbled buildings for trapped survivors.

Zaretti grew up in Rome and says much of the housing in Italy is centuries’ old and made of unreinforced concrete. Those buildings offered little resistance to the powerful shaking.

Firefighters frustrated in their efforts and horrified at the images are breaking down into tears.

And though her family is OK, Zaretti knows many in the region are not.

She says her heart now aches for her homeland and villages that will never be the same.

“I’m sure for Amatrice, it’s going to be another 10 years before they start rebuilding it and getting people in there,” she said.

Zaretti is trying to organize relief efforts for victims of the quake.

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