1980 Irpinia earthquake

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1980 Irpinia earthquake
1980 Irpinia earthquake is located in Italy
1980 Irpinia earthquake
Date November 23, 1980 (1980-11-23)[1]
Magnitude 6.89 Mw
Epicenter 40°51′N 15°17′E / 40.85°N 15.28°E / 40.85; 15.28Coordinates: 40°51′N 15°17′E / 40.85°N 15.28°E / 40.85; 15.28[1]
Areas affected Italy
Casualties 2,914 dead, > 10,000 injured

The 1980 Irpinia earthquake took place in the Irpinia region in Southern Italy on November 23. Measuring 6.89[1] 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 (Irpinian earthquake).


The quake struck at 18:34 UTC.[1][2] The first jolt was followed by 90 aftershocks. Towns in the province of Avellino were hit the hardest. In Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi, 300 died including 27 children in an orphanage and eighty percent of the town was 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 26,000 km², including Naples and Salerno.


The Italian government spent 59,000 billion (or 59 thousand milliard)[nb 1] lire on reconstruction, while other nations sent contributions. West Germany contributed 32 million United States dollars (USD) and the United States 70 million USD.[3]

However, in the early nineties a major corruption scandal emerged of the billions[nb 1] of lire that actually disappeared from the earthquake reconstruction funds in the 1980s. Of the $40 billion (or 40 thousand million)[nb 1] spent on earthquake reconstruction, an estimated $20 billion (or 20 thousand million)[nb 1] went to create an entirely new social class of millionaires in the region, $6.4 billion (or 6,400 million)[nb 1] went to the Camorra, whereas another $4 billion (or 4,000 million)[nb 1] went to politicians in bribes. Only the remaining $9.6 billion (or 9,600 million),[nb 1] a quarter of the total amount, was actually spent on people's needs.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g non-American sources will likely use the long-scale billion, while American and some English-language sources after around 1970 will tend to use short-scale billion, British sources before 1970 tended to use billion in the long-scale sense; milliard or "thousand million" is used to avoid confusion


  1. ^ a b c d Download - Catalogo Parametrico dei Terremoti Italiani (in Italian), archived from the original on 2009-05-06, retrieved 2009-04-07 
  2. ^ Italy: Avellino, Potenza, Caserta, Naples. NOAA National Geophysical Data Center, Boulder (Colorado). Accessed 2009-04-07. Archived 2009-05-06.
  3. ^ Antonello Caporale (2004-12-13), Irpinia, 20 anni dopo (in Italian), la Repubblica, retrieved 2009-04-07 
  4. ^ Behan, The Camorra, pp. 188

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