International Community Reacts to Earthquake in the Abruzzo

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS), of which ICOMOS is a founding member, released a statement expressing its sorrow and solidarity with the Italian people for the loss of lives and the destruction caused by an earthquake which took place on Monday 6 April in the Abruzzo region in Italy.

The International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS) expresses its sorrow and solidarity with the Italian people for the loss of lives and the destruction caused by the earthquake, and its continuing aftershocks, which took place on Monday 6 April in the Abruzzo region in Italy.

L’Aquila, the regional capital of the Abruzzo region and epicenter of the quake, was founded in the 13th century and constitutes one of the most important urban ensembles dating from the Middle-Ages in Italy. Its devastated historic center contains many Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque, and Renaissance buildings, as well as important museums, archives and libraries. Its surrounding villages also contain many architectural treasures.

Whilst the highest priorities must be accorded to minimising the loss of life and to the humanitarian activities intended to re-establish decent living conditions for the thousands of people whose homes and means of subsistence have been wrecked by this natural disaster, the International Committee of the Blue Shield, founded in 1996 ‘to work to protect the world’s cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters’, places the expertise and networks of its member organizations at the disposal of their Italian colleagues and the Italian authorities to support their work in assessing the damage to the cultural heritage of Aquila and the surrounding region, including libraries, archives, museums and monuments and sites, and subsequent recovery, restoration and repair measures.

ICBS also calls on the international community to give the fullest possible support to the efforts, official and voluntary, underway to rescue this rich and unique heritage.

Fully aware of the great internal resources of Italy when it comes to heritage and heritage recovery, the member organisations of the ICBS are currently liaising with Italian colleagues and members, to obtain further information on both the situation of professional colleagues in the area and on the possible needs and type of help required, so as to mobilize our networks accordingly. A more complete report on damages, needs and actions will be published subsequently, so as to facilitate coordination.

On behalf of the Blue Shield Organization,
Julien Anfruns,
International Committee of the Blue Shield (ICBS)
Contact Information:
Web address:

View larger map of Abruzzo Earthquake


The President of ICOMOS, Gustavo Araoz (formerly Executive Director of US/ICOMOS), expressed concern and solidarity to our colleagues of ICOMOS Italy on behalf of the international organization and offered support. The Paris Secretariat and several Committees have released similar messages in response to this devastating tragedy.

ICOMOS Italy expressed its thanks to all the ICOMOS network for the messages of solidarity and the offers of cooperation received. Maurizio di Stefano, ICOMOS Italy President, assures that Italy has already organized a response and that an inventory of the damaged heritage is in progress. The Secretary General of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage, Prof. Giuseppe Proietti, who is a member of ICOMOS Italy, is coordinating the activities together with several members of the ICOMOS Board, also part of the Ministry. ICOMOS Italy has offered its support and collaboration to the Italian Prime Minister and Civil Protection authorities.

A special task force, led by ICOMOS Italy and possibly complimented by international colleagues, has been formed. The task force includes the Politecnico di Torino (Prof. Kirova), the University Federico II of Naples (Prof. Forte), the University Mediterranea of Reggio Calabria (Prof. Valtieri). ICOMOS Italy will also cooperate with ICOM Italy and the Blue Shield network.

Further information will be made available as soon as it is released.

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