Silvio Berlusconi has been conducting tours of the L’Aquila’s earthquake zone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the first foreign leaders to see first hand reconstruction efforts. US President Barack Obama followed hours later after the heads of state had held their first round of talks. Several G8 countries have pledged to pay for major reconstruction works as a gesture of solidarity. But their promises may be too little too late for most of the town’s residents who have spent the past three months living in tents. With chunks of masonry from damaged buildings still evident across much of the town, authorities have been unable to give many people a clear idea of when or if they might be able to return home. The lucky ones know they are likely to be re-housed in September or October. But home for others remains the tent city in the hills surrounding L’Aquila. More than 20,000 people are awaiting checks on their houses that will determine if they are inhabitable or not. And there is widespread anger and fear that nothing will be done to give them a permanent shelter before winter begins to bite.