Coffs local's son witness to earthquake tragedy
ONE Coffs Harbour delicatessen jumped on the phone to call loved ones in his native Italy the minute he heard about Wednesday's earthquake.
News of the earthquake continues to make headlines around the world with more than 159 people killed and more than 1000 have been displaced.
Mario Lugli's son Andrea and his family live in Capranica, about an hour from Amatrice - one of the hardest hit towns after a 6.2 magnitude earthquake shook the European country.
Amatrice, once a historical town, has turned to rubble in the earthquake, which hit at 3.30am local time with the epicentre at Norcia which is about 170km north-east of Rome.
What started as worry turned to relief after Mario spoke with his son, who said his family was okay.
Andrea told Mario about the damage and the broken communities he has witnessed around his area.
"He said you see people in the middle of the street with nothing any more because their house is gone," Mario said.
Mario's ex-wife, who lives in neighbouring Nepi, was said to have felt the bed shaking in the middle of the night.
Andrea is joining the growing relief effort to support the devastated community of Amatrice this weekend.
Mario said the growing relief effort is reflective of the country's culture to support its people.
"It's normal to go and help," Mario said.
The ruins of Amatrice have hit Mario on a personal level with the Coffs local attending a college in the town when he was a boy.
Calling it one of the most beautiful towns in Italy, Mario is saddened the town's historic infrastructure has been reduced to rubble.
Australians trying to find information about loved ones in Italy can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs' 24-hour centre.
In 2009, an earthquake hit the Aquila region killing about 300 people.