The world’s First Ladies have been visiting L’Aquila to witness the earthquake damage.
The spotlight was on Barack Obama’s wife, Michelle, who listened intently to rescue officials and shook hands with firefighters working to clear the wreckage and prop up damaged buildings to allow reconstruction. Britain’s Sarah Brown and the Japanese, Indian, and Mexican First Ladies were among the 12 spouses who were shown the damage to the town’s historic buildings. Germany and France have both offered funds to help with reconstruction. As the First Ladies took in the devastation in L’Aquila, a protest group calling themselves the Last Ladies called for action to house those still living in tents three months after the quake, which killed 299 people. More than 50,000 people were made homeless by the earthquake, and about half are still camping out in difficult conditions. Protestors occupied empty buildings in L’Aquila, demanding that they be handed over to homeless survivors.