A strong earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter Scale struck Italy’s central mountainous region of Lazio in the early hours of Wednesday 24 August, causing extensive damage to several towns. At least 240 people have died, and many more were injured or still trapped under collapsed buildings.
Rescue workers are struggling against time to save as many lives as possible by digging through the rubble, often by hand. Let us pray that they succeed in their efforts!
On the same day thousands of kilometers away, the District of Chauk in Central Myanmar was also struck by an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale. Since the epicentre was near to the ancient Buddhist city of Bagan, it is feared that many historical structures there might be damaged.
Bagan was the capital of a powerful and vast Burmese empire nine hundred years ago. The Burmese kings built more than 10,000 Buddhist stupas, viharas, and cetiyas in Bagan over a span of two-centuries, of which 2,000 structures survived to this day. Visitors to Bagan have always been overawed by its grandeur and beauty – a testimony to the strong faith of the ancient Burmese.
Our deepest condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in the twin tragedies. We wish that the injured recover soon; and may the dozens missing be speedily found well and unharmed.