More than 100,000 families are living without power in about 120 municipalities of Abruzzo, Italy, which was already devastated by earthquakes that have tormented the region so far this year. On top of it, the region is caught in the grip of a cold winter with snowfall from the mountains to the coastal areas reaching up to 10 feet in some parts.
Freezing temperatures, up to -5 degrees Fahrenheit in L’Aquila province, have frozen lakes. Many small villages are isolated. Most inhabitants are elderly and suffering brutal conditions: no electricity, no heating, no water, and in some cases they depend from the fire department helicopters and the relay of the police to get food and medicine.
Thousands are stranded in their homes, behind white walls of snow. Even stables have collapsed. On Wednesday in Penne, cattle were crushed under falling debris. Roofs everywhere have caved in, and landslides abound. Schools and public offices are closed, by order of the mayors. Highways and sections of state roads are sometimes off limits, by decision of the prefects. Public transportation has broken down: Almost all bus routes are suspended and trains are canceled.
The Pescara and the Saline rivers flooded their banks, causing massive damage. The Civil Protection is on the highest alert; in some areas, like in Teramo, emergency activities were requested, with the Army’s help. Power outages have been going on intermittently for days.