Montreal

Montreal Italians mobilize for earthquake victims

Montreal's Italian community is closely following the fallout from Monday morning's earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy.

Montreal's Italian community is closely following the fallout from Monday morning's earthquake in L'Aquila, Italy.

"They're really worried," said Reynaldo Giordano, news anchor on the Italian language station CFMB Radio in Montreal.

He said the station's phone lines have been busy all day with calls from anxious Montrealers of Italian origin trying to reach loved ones in the Abruzzo region.

"They told me they're not able to phone into L'Aquila," he told CBC News. "Impossible."

The earthquake has killed at least 150 people, and an estimated 1,500 more are believed to be injured, according to rescue agencies on the ground.

The disaster rattled Montreal's tight-knit community, said Giordano, who is concerned for his relatives in Abruzzo. 

"We don't know what happened to our people there and if they're okay or not," he said. "They cannot reach us, and we cannot reach them," he said.

Some people have been able to reach friends and family in the region by cellphone, said Guido Piccone, president of the Association of Abruzzi Families in Montreal.

Reynaldo Giordano says he's getting calls from anxious Montrealers. Giordano is the news anchor for CFMB, Montreal's Italian language station. ((CBC))
"They're trying to get water; they don't have water," he told CBC News. "It's a very bad situation anyways. A friend of mine, his house completely collapsed in L'Aquila."

Piccone's organization has contacted the Red Cross to offer assistance to earthquake victims, he said.

The Quebec branch of the Italian Canadian Congress is also mobilizing concerned Montrealers, who have been invited to an emergency meeting Monday night in the borough of St. Léonard.

The congress estimates about 30,000 Italian-Canadians are from the Abruzzo region or have relatives there.

Monday night's meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at the Leonardo Da Vinci Centre, 8350 Lacordaire Blvd. 

 For more information, call the Quebec branch of the Italian Canadian Congress, at 514-279-6357.

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