The following comes from the Salesian News Agency in Rome:
At 3:30 in the morning an earthquake of 5.8 magnitude (according to Italian reports; some U.S. reports placed it higher) struck central Italy. The number of victims is uncertain, but the total is rising in the Abruzzo region, the epicenter of the earthquake.
The Salesian house of St. John Bosco in L’Aquila, located in the central area of the city, was seriously damaged, especially the two story building housing the Salesian community and a university hostel.
The five Salesians in the community and the hundred or so university students are unhurt. After feeling the first shock, the religious and the young people gathered in the courtyard of the Institute and spent the rest of the night there.
In the light of dawn, plucking up courage, they went into building to recover some things and assess the damage. Some of the young people left the city to return to their own homes.
The St. John Bosco Salesian Institute opened in 1932. Today provides the city of L’Aquila with a vocation training center, an oratory and youth center, as well as the university hostel.
Given the severity of the quake, civil protection officials expect the number of victims to increase as searches continue among the rubble.