Irpinia earthquake

1980 Irpinia earthquake

Earthquake Facts
Date November 23, 1980
Epicenter Eboli, Conza della Campania
Magnitude Richter 6.8
Magnitude Mercalli 9
Deaths 2,914

The 1980 Italian earthquake took place in the Irpinia region in southern Italy on Sunday, November 23, 1980. Measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, the quake, centered on the village of Conza, killed 2,914 people, injured more than 10,000 and left 300,000 homeless. It is known in Italy as Terremoto dell'Irpinia (Irpininan earthquake).

The quake struck at 7:36 pm. The first jolt was followed by 90 aftershocks. Towns in the province of Avellino were hardest hit. In Sant'Angelo di Lombardi, 300 died including 27 children in an orphanage and eighty percent of that town had been destroyed. One hundred were killed in Balvano when a medieval church collapsed during Sunday services. The towns of Lioni, Conza di Campania (near the epicenter), and Teora were destroyed, and dozens of structures in Naples were levelled, including a 10-story apartment building. Damage was spread over more than 10,000 square miles (26,000 km²), including Naples and Salerno.

The Italian government spent 58.64 billion lire on reconstruction, while 100 million Euros came from other nations. Germany contributed $32 million and there was $70 million in American aid.

However, in the early nineties there emerged a major corruption scandal of the billions that actually disappeared from the earthquake reconstruction funds in the 1980's. Of the $40 billion spent on earthquake reconstruction, an estimated $20 billion went to create an entirely new social class of millionaires in the region, $6.4 billion went to the Camorra, whereas another $4 billion went to politicians in bribes. Only the remaining $9.6 billion, i.e, a mere 24% of the total amount, were actually spent on people's needs.


  • Translated from Terremoto dell'Irpinia
  • Other sources: Facts on File 1980 Yearbook p893
  • Even more resources: then search for Italy earthquake of 1980

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