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Mayors of Italy’s quake towns feel they’ve been ‘abandoned’

“It’s not clear who needs to do what, or how,” Sergio Pirozzi, Amatrice’s mayor, said in reference to the recovery efforts in his town, which was the worst hit in the August 28th earthquake. “The impression is that someone is abandoning us.”

“I’m sure it’s not the case,” he added, but went on to say that the only way he could be certain that his town was not being neglected was for concrete recovery policies to be put in place.

“I’m thinking of a ‘no tax area’, the only solution to restart the economy,” said Pirozzi. “The people who suffered from the earthquake are considering not returning. We don’t want our villages to become just postcard villages, but to remain places where people can live. To do that, we need a structural solution which will last for years.”

He wore a borrowed mayoral sash in Italy’s colours, having lost his own in the chaos of the quake. He said he would wear his own – bearing the crest of Amatrice – “when I am certain that nobody will abandon us,” La Repubblica reported.

Pirozzi’s views were echoed by the mayor of Arquata del Tronto, Aleandro Petrucci. He said that while he understood that the towns of Italy’s most recent quake, with an epicentre near Ussita, needed help too, “we feel slightly overlooked”.

Petrucci lamented that in Arquata del Tronto “everything is gone,” from local shops and businesses to the town’s population.

The quake on October 29th was Italy’s biggest since 1980, and it followed a 6.6 magnitude tremblor on the 26th. Remarkably, there were no casualties. The August earthquake left 298 dead, mainly in Amatrice – the fact that it hit during the height of the holiday season made it all the more deadly.

“We need to rebuild quickly,” said Nicola Alemanno, the mayor of Norcia which was devastated by the more recent earthquake. “Our culture and our identity are in those stones. We need a concrete and immediate response.”

The head of Italy’s Civil Protection Agency, Fabrizio Curcio, was present alongside the more than 600 mayors, and noted that bad weather over the past few days was making recovery work increasingly difficult.

Laura Boldrini, President of the Chamber, offered an “embrace” to the mayors of the affected towns and vowed that Italy would do all it could to help the region. She also praised the work of the rescuers and the Civil Protection Agency.

“Now all of us, parliament, government, local instiutions, confirm our efforts,” said Boldrini. “We won’t leave you by yourselves and we’ll do everything we can to keep general attention on the drama which has affected you.”

READ MORE: Why Amatrice will never be the same again


Photo: Angela Giuffrida