The 2002 Molise earthquake

2002 Molise earthquake: twenty years after the tragedy 

The 2002 earthquake that struck Molise occurred between October 31 and November 2, with its epicenter located in the province of Campobasso, it destroyed an elementary school causing the death of thirty people. 

The 2002 earthquake in Molise 

Three earthquakes had already been felt in the region during the night between 30 and 31 October, the strongest at 3.27 (magnitude 3,5 on the Richter scale, IV-V degree on the Mercalli scale). 

The strongest shock occurred during the morning, at 11.32, on Thursday October 31, 2002 in the area of low Molise, located in the north-east of the province of Campobasso and between the Frentani Mountains and the Fortore valley. 

The earthquake lasted 60 seconds and was distinctly felt throughout Molise, in Capitanata, in the province of Chieti, up to the Marche, Pescara, Rome, Naples, Bari, Benevento, Matera, Brindisi, Potenza, Salerno and Taranto.  


Damages and victims of the 2002 Molise earthquake 

The quake of 31 December 2002 caused the collapse of the elementary school of San Giuliano di Puglia; during the earthquake the attic covering part of the “Francesco Jovine” school building, which included the nursery, elementary and middle school, collapsed on the underlying part. At that time there were eight teachers, two janitors and 58 children in the Institute. 


 Rubble from the Molise earthquake, 2002


Aid was initially provided by local volunteers, and then by the State Forestry Corps, by the firefighters, who came from all over the region and neighboring regions. They were joined by the volunteers of the Misericordie, of the Italian Red Cross e the military to bring assistance to the populations victims of the earthquake. Funds and mechanical means also arrived to facilitate research of the survivors in the rubble, but the rescue operations were hampered by the repetition of other tremors.  

Relief during the 2002 earthquake, San Giuliano di Puglia

Throughout the day they continued to dig Firefighters, Civil Protection volunteers and local people even by hand. Until the evening, living people were pulled out of the rubble. The following morning the Fire Brigade announced that they no longer heard voices coming from under the rubble. Under the "Francesco Jovine" school the heaviest toll of human lives was recorded: 27 children (attending elementary school) and a teacher. The youngest children who lost their lives were born in 1996. 

The elementary school was the only building to completely collapse in San Giuliano di Puglia. The collapse of the building was caused by human responsibilities.  

Two other women were victims of falling debris and rubble. About 100 were injured and 3.000 displaced in the province of Campobasso. Also in the province of Foggia there were numerous displaced people and a dozen municipalities reported significant damage to historic buildings and homes. 

Reconstruction works

A new school was built in San Giuliano di Puglia and, throughout Italy, as a result of legislative interventions quickly launched after this tragedy that outraged the whole country, we proceeded toto draw the maps of the seismic risk and to define which public buildings should be subjected to interventions to adapt to anti-seismic safety standards.




1 source          2 source

Related Articles