About
Claudio Montesano Casillas
Claudio Montesano Casillas is a photojournalist specialised in multimedia storytelling. Although born in Mexico, his roots are firmly entrenched across the globe, spanning three distinct cultures: Mexican, Italian and Swiss. This multicultural background has honed his ability to both recognise and capture the richness of people, cultures, and their respective evolution. He has lived in Asia since 2014 and is currently based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His work has been featured in The Telegraph, Roads & Kingdoms, The Guardian and WIRED Magazine, among numerous other publications.
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On 6 April 2009 at 3:32 am an earthquake hit Italy with an epicenter near the capital of the central region Abruzzo, L’Acquila, which together with surrounding villages suffered most damage. This deadly earthquake killed 308 people and around 60’000 people were rendered homeless. According to media around 50,000 people who were made homeless by the earthquake found accommodation in blue tented camps and a further 10,000 were housed in hotels on the coast. At that time former Italian Prime Minister caused controversy by his public statement that the homeless victims should consider themselves to be on a “camping weekend”.

Moreover, criticism was on poor building standards and construction materials seem to have further contributed to the large number of victims. While most of l’Aquila’s medieval structures suffered damage, many of its modern buildings suffered the greatest damage and several buildings also collapsed. According to Italian firefighters and other rescuers, some concrete elements of the fallen buildings “seemed to have been made poorly, possibly with sand”. Aid came mostly from Italian companies and national motivated volunteers (scouts) who helped to organise and improve the life of the victims during their “camping weekend”.

At that time I was studying abroad and decided to go back with friends, guided by one of them from this region, to see first hand what happened. This photo reportage is a testimony of my road trip to the medieval city of L’Acquila and surrounding villages just a couple of days after the earthquake.

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