The Italian President, Giorgio Napolitano, has visited the earthquake-sticken region of Emilia-Romagna to tell its people they will not be abandoned by the rest of the nation.
He brought with him a message of solidarity, and promised help was on its way.
“You can not manage it on your own, so we are here on your behalf. We have to feel the problem of the emergency and reconstruction as something that touches everybody, Italy’s institutions and the whole of society,” he said.
Emilia-Romagna is a key region for Italy, home to many of its famously dynamic small and medium-sized companies. Everywhere factories are damaged, production is at a standstill, and stock is ruined.
The Civil Protection Service has already helped 16,000 people and tented villages have sprung up to shelter the homeless. But dangers remain in the makeshift, crowded conditions.
“Fever, dehydration or gastroenteritis are common problems related to life in a community in these conditions,” said one doctor.
From a distance, it all looks like camping out, but this is no picnic.