Amongst all the wreckage, the rescue of a tenacious house cat brings a glint of light to the tragedy.
Pietro the cat has been pulled from the rubble of the central Italy earthquake after surviving 16 days without food, limited air and just rainwater to drink, reports the Italian edition of The Local.
According to reports, firefighters were accompanying Pietro's owners to their home to see if there was anything left to retrieve when they heard faint mewing from the rubble. The family believed their cat had perished during the 6.2-magnitude that hit central Italy and claimed nearly 300 lives.
The firefighters worked to free Pietro, before he was hooked up to an IV and rushed by ambulance to the local vet; he was then taken to a larger clinic in Rieti due to his injuries. Initial x-rays showed he had suffered a fractured jaw. Apparently he is now eating, which is giving his doctors hope.
"He's hurt, but alive," said ENPA, the animal welfare agency caring for Pietro and hundreds of other pets hurt in the disaster. They have a mobile team on bikes to deliver pet food and assistance to remote areas and are doing all they can to help the furry victims of the quake.
“Every life saved is an indescribable emotion. And luckily, miracles never end...” wrote ENPA, using the hashtag #ForzaPietro (go Pietro), adding that the cat's family was "astonished and emotional in equal measure."
ABC News compiled footage of Pietro's rescue, shown below. (ABC reports Pietro survived only 15 days, but we're going with ENPA's account of 16 days.)
People around the world are rallying for Pietro's return to good health, showing how a single animal can become a mascot of hope and perseverance. This writer happens to find it completely humbling.
Updates on Pietro and other rescued animals can be followed on ENPA's Twitter page.