Italian Jewish Community Steps In To Help Earthquake Victims
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Italian Jewish Community Steps In To Help Earthquake Victims

Jews in Rome begin aid efforts by setting up a blood donation center for those wishing to help the victims.

The Jewish community of Italy was quick to respond to the tragic earthquake that struck central Italy during the early hours of Wednesday morning. The president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI), Noemi Di Segni, said in a statement: “The images and stories that have been emerging in recent hours are shocking and painful. Our thoughts are with the people and communities affected. We extend not only our solidarity on behalf of Italian Jewry, but also our readiness to take immediate, concrete steps to help in the current state of emergency.”

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Vice-President of the Jewish Community of Rome: "Our heart goes out to those killed in the earthquake, we will do everything we can to help"

UCEI has already set up a center for people to donate blood at the Fatebenefratelli Hospital, and has asked those who can, to go and donate, while the Jewish community-linked Israelite Hospital has opened an emergency wing to treat victims of the quake. In addition, Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish community of Rome, announced that civil protection volunteers from the Jewish community were heading to the quake-zone to offer their assistance.

The epicenter of the 6.2 magnitude earthquake, located at a shallow depth of 6 miles, was underneath the village of Accumoli, near the border of the regions of Lazio, Umbria, Le Marche and Abruzzo. The earthquake has already caused immense damage to several towns and villages in the area, including Amatrice, where much of the rescue effort and media attention has been focused. The death toll, currently at 120, is expected to rise as rescue workers continue to pull bodies out of the rubble and amid ongoing aftershocks.

The region where the earthquake struck overlaps with the site of a 2009 earthquake in nearby L’Aquila in which over 300 people died. That quake was the most deadly in Italian history. Much of the region is yet to recover from the devastation of that event, after government inefficiency and allegations of widespread corruption stalled the rebuilding process.

On social media, the US State Department has urged citizens in Italy to get in touch with family and friends, and has provided details for anyone in need of embassy assistance.

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In a pair of tweets sent in the hours after the earthquake struck, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended his condolences to the victims and offered search and rescue assistance to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

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