It’s been almost three weeks that the Northern region of Italy, Emilia Romagna, has been hit by deadly earthquakes. The first one struck on May 20th at 4:00am (magnitude 6.o) and it was followed by several aftershocks. The following week another quake reached the 5.1 magnitude, causing more death, collapse of buildings and weakening several structures. Many of the readers might recall the devastating earthquake that hit in 2009 the Abruzzo region destroying entire towns and causing 308 deaths.
Every day smaller quakes are still being felt in the region and are causing several problems to Italian business and the made in Italy. Several factories such as the textile, shoes, ceramics, agriculture have estimated damages for over 500 Euros due to the severe structural ruin and produce damage. Prominent examples are factories of the parmigiano reggiano, the Balsamic vinegar, the prosciutto made in the city of Parma and the wineries of Lambrusco.
In the case of the Parmigiano, the quake caused 260.000 wheels to be affected, since the shelving which housed them (in Italian they are called “scalere”) collapsed, and they cannot be sold in the marketplace. Some have been moved to neighboring dairies, but the damage has been estimated to be over 70 million euros. Several provinces near Modena which produce the high quality Balsamic vinegar were also hard hit and suffered according to some estimates 18 million euros in damage. Some bottles of Balsamic vinegar cost up of hundreds of dollars.
As we mourn the loss of life, Italy is also dealing with the fear of paralyzing one of the most fertile economic areas in Italy.