Earthquake hits central Italy, University students abroad accounted for

By Alissa Groeninger

An earthquake struck the central Italy city of L’Aquila at 3:32 AM local time this morning, according to a message from the United States Embassy in Rome.

Erika Ryser, associate director for the Study Abroad Office, said there are 41 University students studying in Rome, which is 60 miles from L’Aquila. There are not University students between L’Aquila and Rome.

The Study Abroad Office performed a head count and have heard back from all students in Rome. Ryser said there were no injuries or problems for any University students.

“We have not had trouble reaching the groups,” she said.

Erika Schmit, junior in LAS, said her friends sent her messages on Facebook and called her to make sure she was OK.

“I woke up, but I thought it was a bad dream. The bed was moving so I thought I was jumping out of a dream,” Schmit said.

The Embassy’s message says there was widespread damage to buildings in and around L’Aquila.

Ryser said the Office is still working to account for students in the rest of central Italy. Majority of other University students are in northern Italy, which was not affected, she said.

The National Italian American Foundation is setting up a relief fund for victims and families. A press release from the Foundation says that 92 people have been reported dead, 1,500 have been reported injured and more people are missing.