Stories of survival have been emerging from the rubble of Italy’s earthquake. Still in shock, many people realise they have stared death in the face.“You don’t expect that during the night,” said one woman, describing her ordeal. “We escaped barefoot and without our mobile phones. A painting fell on me. All I could think of was getting out. The door would not open. It was unbearable. It only lasted a moment but it seemed like an eternity.” Many homes in L’Aquila look like a bomb has been dropped on them. “That is my second bed for when my parents come to see me,” a man explained, looking at the wrecked remains of his kitchen. “Normally I sleep in the other room. Fortunately, this room was empty. No-one was sleeping in it… because it is full of stones.” Some have lost everything and have been left wondering where they would spend the night, despite reassurances from the authorities. “Most of the buildings are seriously damaged,” said one young man. “We will need a sack load of money and time to put this back together again.” Several countries including Russia, Germany, France and Israel have offered Italy help in facing up to this catastrophe. For now, Rome say it will deal with the crisis alone.