ITALY NEWS

Santo Stefano di Sessanio

L'Aquila: the aftermath

Tremors, protests and generosity
(issue no. 105/2009 / July 2, 2009)

Although tremors continue two months after a powerful earthquake rocked the central Italian city of L'Aquila, residents have been allowed limited access to the ravaged historic centre. From 11am to 10pm, the section of the city, most of which was reduced to rubble, is open to residents only, in groups of 50, accompanied by law enforcement officials.

 

After the April 6 quake, which claimed 275 lives and left 28,000 homeless, L'Aquila was closed for 75 days as workers from Italy's Civil Protection Agency assessed the damage and determined which buildings were safe for occupancy.

 

Many of the homeless continue to live in hotels and tent cities throughout the region. Calling for suitable housing for those left homeless, more state funds to support the reconstruction effort and financial assistance for the commercial sector, on June 16, residents, politicians and business owners organized a sit-in at Montecitorio in Rome to protest what they believe is an inadequate response from the government.

 

Private funds, however, continue to pour in from around the country, many through such fund-raising initiatives as the June 21 benefit concert by 100 hundred Italian female singers at Milan's San Siro stadium, held for an audience of 55,000. Organizers of the concert, called Amiche per l'Abruzzo, raised 1,516,200 euro for quake victims.

 

A June 24 fund-raiser at the Villa Bardini in Florence targeted donations for reconstruction of the Medicean Tower in the Abruzzo village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio. From 1579 to 1743, the Medici family ruled the town, which was well known for its wool production. Wool from Santo Stefano di Sessanio was taken to Tuscany, where local artisans made fabric that was exported throughout Italy and Europe.  

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