Italy: TV actor Michele Oliveri reports on his journey to the earthquake region

by Michele Oliveri/SHU,  2012/06/01

Almost two weeks have passed since the earth shook for the first time in the Italian holiday region called Emilia Romagna. Since then, the region in the northeast of the country has experienced hundreds of partly heavy aftershocks. Together with “Sturm der Liebe” (Storm of Love) actor Michele Oliveri, humedica supports those affected by the series of earthquakes. The native Italian grew up in this region and last week he travelled there in order to gain some impression of the situation and the degree of destruction himself:

Michele Oliveri called for donations among the population in front of a live camera in Sant' Agostino. Photo: private

“Michele, a new era has begun here. From one day to the next nothing here is as it used to be.” With the word “here” my best friend Raffaele referred to my home region, the Emilia Romagna in Italy, a rural area between Bologna and Ferrara.

This is where I cycled from one village to the next together with my friends when I was a little boy, where I fell in love for the first time and where I worked the fields of my grandmother. My mother’s family has been living here for generations. We feel a deep bond to this country.

Three years ago, before I accepted the role in “Sturm der Liebe”, I had decided to live in my home country for some time and support young people there. I held acting classes, organised plays and now everything was shaken up by an earthquake.

“We must go there; our friends and family need us.”

On Whit weekend we had a break in shooting. Without further ado my family and I decided to drive to Italy. Apart from that, only little information could be gained on TV and I wanted to gain some impression of the situation myself.

What we found was shocking: frightened people who rather slept in their cars or at emergency accommodations instead of going home. “The shock is deep. Although the rational part of my brain knows that it’s over, that everything’s different, I’m no longer able to sleep", I was told by a friend.

Cracks are showing in the walls of almost every old building. The heart of the small villages has been hit. Numerous churches, kindergartens, schools and town halls can no longer be entered, as they either have collapsed or are in danger of doing so.

The piazza, the meeting point for young and old, has been fenced off. Most of the people are still numb with shock. Apathy is spreading like some evil virus.

“Time has stopped.”

The first time I grasped the full extent of destruction was in Sant’ Agostino, in the Ferrara Province. People have left their homes and the town seems like a ghost town. Time has stopped. The piazza, the heart of the town can no longer be entered. Right there I used to have a cup of coffee...

During his tour around the Emilia Romagna, the actor finds numerous destroyed or damaged buildings and he talks to those affected. Photo: private

By coincidence I met my old friend Marcello when I was visiting an emergency accommodation. We had worked together at the local ceramics factory when we were young. He is the chief coordinator of the earthquake relief assistants and has a good overview.

“The worst problem is the people’s deep-set fear. They don't want to return to their homes", Marcello told me.

On May 28, on our way back to Munich, we took a photo of a church in Poggio Renatico. Only one day later we heard that it had collapsed.

“I would like to set a sign.”

We must give certainty to all those people who live only 550 kilometres from Munich, to all my friends and relatives, to our neighbours: certainty that they are not alone with their terrible fate. We won’t forget them.”

Together with Michele Oliveri, humedica has assumed commitment for the reconstruction of destroyed buildings in the earthquake region. We would also like to ask you, dear friends and sponsors of our work, to support those affected and our efforts by means of a targeted donation. Thank you very much!

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Earthquake Italy”
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

      SWIFT-Code: BYLA DE M1 KFB
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

You can also achieve great results by means of a short text message: send a text message containing the reference DOC to 8 11 90. Your mobile bill will be charged with 5 euros, and 4.83 euros of this amount will be used directly for the humedica project work.

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