One month after the earthquake which devastated the Italian town of L’Aquila, survivors say they are still too scared to go home. 300 people died and thousands were made homeless when their town was reduced to rubble. Local authorities believe the best way of rejuvenating the area is to get business moving again.
“The European Union can help,” said deputy Mayor Roberto Riga. “We’ve called for the creation of a tax-free zone to kick-start the economy. And, we’ve asked the EU to put us back onto the list of regions needing direct aid. It has been a point of local pride that this region had managed to get off this list but, sadly, now we need help.” Local engineers say most of the buildings in L’Aquila are safe, and people can return, but many survivors are too scared. There are still aftershocks, and most people aren’t prepared to take risks. Some 40,000 people are refugees in their own country, living in difficult conditions. Here, ten kilometres outside L’Aquila, 170 families are in tents, usually without electricity. The Red Cross is doing what it can, but people are trying to help themselves. The refugees are just grateful to have survived the earthquake, and hope to be able to go home soon.