Italy earthquake: British nationals hit by disaster that killed 241 as Boris Johnson sends out staff to help

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A number of Brits have been affected by the devastating earthquake in Italy, the Foreign Office has confirmed.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said extra staff had been sent to the region to help provide support to Britons affected by the “terrible” quake which has claimed the lives of 241.

The UK Government has offered “any assistance that we can” to the Italian authorities, Mr Johnson said.

He said: “My deepest sympathies are with the Italian people and everyone affected by the terrible earthquake that struck central Italy.

“The British Government has offered any assistance that we can to help with the recovery effort and I have spoken with Italian foreign minister Paolo Gentiloni to express my condolences personally.

“As the scale of the disaster has become clearer we now know that a number of British nationals have been affected.

“British Embassy staff are in the region providing consular support, and we have deployed additional staff to support this effort.”

The Italy earthquake measured 6.2 and hit just 6 miles beneath the surface of the earth, a shallow depth that multiplied its destructive force, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Apennine mountain belt which runs down the spine of Italy is gradually being stretched in a northeast-southwest direction by tectonic forces at a rate of around 0.12 inches per year, said Richard Walters, lecturer in Earth Sciences at Durham University .

This slow stretching causes stress to build up in the earth’s crust, which is then released in earthquakes just like this one, he said.

It was the most destructive such disaster in Italy since 2009, when a quake killed more than 300 people, left 55,000 homeless and devastated the 13th century city of L’Aquila.

That tragedy once again revealed the fragility of Italy’s infrastructure, with both modern and ancient buildings, including churches, hospitals and a college dormitory in the area destroyed by the quake.

Fabio Tortorici, head of studies at Italy’s Geological Institute, said: Italy can expect an earthquake with a magnitude above 6.3 every 15 years on average. That should encourage a greater culture of seismic prevention and civil protection.

Some things have changed, but more could be done. The real problem lies with properties built before the 1970s when there were zero earthquake norms.

The country was covered in cement which has a very finite life.

News Source MirrorNews

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