The author retraces the phases of the emergency intervention after the earthquake in L’Aquila. She aims at pointing out its critical aspects and identifying the necessary improvements to be made in order to obtain more effective results in future actions. Her report of the first interventions from a logistic point of view gives an idea of the considerable deployment of forces put in action to face the emergency. She describes the first psychological interventions - addressed to the relatives of the victims - and, later, the counselling and creative activities carried out with those who were experiencing the most severe mental suffering, and with children. Psychosocial support was provided by a large number of volunteers working for Associations coordinated by the Environmental Services. Before closing the emergency phase, the volunteers gauged the psychological situation of the community through the questions proposed by Gordon for a long-term evaluation after a catastrophe, and gave all the necessary information to the local Agencies. The latter - thanks to the cooperation of volunteer organizations that self-finance their work - were able to organize specific interventions in response to the different needs.
Keywords: Natural catastrophe, emergency psychology, volunteer organizations, mourning, long-term evaluation of the post-stress psychological condition of a community, psychosocial support