Claims the Italian authorities in Abruzzo knew public buildings were likely to collapse in the event of an earthquake have emerged.
The Italian civil protection organisation is reported to have drawn attention to the danger as early as 1999 with a detailed map of the seismic risk in seven regions of southern Italy. Franco Barberi, of the Protection Civile said: “It turned out that in L’Aquila there were several buildings with an unacceptable level of vulnerability, an unfortunately high level, and obviously we have seen the consequences in the earthquake. It is extremely irresponsible.” The extent of the destruction is being blamed, in part at least, on a failure to make buildings in the area earthquake proof. The L’Aquila earthquake which killed 294 people on April 6, was the deadliest in Italy since 1980 when more than 2,500 died near naples. Prosecutor Alfredo Rossini said: “We are sequestrating some of the rubble because its necessary to protect it, to prevent it being tampered with so as not to lose vital evidence which could eventually prove who is responsible.” A special force is being set up prevent the mafia infiltrating the rebuilding process. Engineers fear many of the buildings damaged in the quake had been constructed with poor-quality cement and beach sand as a result of mafia control of construction companies.