Italy Discontinues HF Earthquake Net
On April 10, Italy's Dipartimento della Protezione Civile announced that as of April 11, they would be closing down all organized emergency communications support on HF frequencies that had been set up after the April 6 earthquake that struck the town of L'Aquila. The ARRL reported that two HF frequencies -- 7045 and 3640 kHz -- were being kept clear of regular traffic so that they could be utilized for any communications support needed in the aftermath of the quake.
"There do not appear to be any other emergency groups using [7045 kHz]," said IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator Greg Mossop, G0DUB, "so it is appropriate to return it to normal use and let normal amateur procedures apply: Listen before transmitting, and if you hear any station passing emergency traffic, leave the frequency clear and avoid causing interference." Mossop said that a large number of Amateur Radio responders are still present from the different emergency communications groups in the country.
According to ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, the Red Cross Society of Italy is still "fully engaged" in emergency relief operations and is not set up to provide status updates on individuals in the affected areas. "For those concerned about family or friends in the L'Aquila area, the Red Cross asks that you continue to keep calling them or call other family members who live nearby," he said. Although the Red Cross is not accepting International Disaster Welfare Inquiries (IDWI) at this time, Dura said that the Italian Red Cross will notify other Red Cross organizations if this changes. Concerned parties may also contact the Dipartimento della Protezione Civile via e-mail or by telephone at +39 06 68203229 or +39 06 68201.
Inquiries concerning US citizens living or traveling in Italy should be directed to the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at the US Department of State. That office can be reached via telephone at 1-888-407-4747 or (202) 647-5225.