It’s back to school for the children of Amatrice, the Italian town hardest hit by last month’s deadly earthquake.
Here, the classrooms are prefabs that were set up in record time after the 6.2 magnitude quake caused the local school to collapse – even as it was supposed to have been upgraded to modern anti-quake norms four years ago. The National Anti-Corruption Agency is now looking into how the contract for that work was awarded.
The August 24 disaster killed 295 people, including many children, over the summer break. Rebuilding facilities for the town’s pupils was a priority.
“It’s a new beginning for them, they can somewhat get back to normal,” one mother said. “In this disastrous situation it’s the only beautiful thing, after all the victims we’ve had – a new beginning, a more peaceful one.”
The makeshift school comprises 10 classrooms for pupils ranging from pre-school to middle school. And the principal, Maria Rita Pitoni, wants to make it a fun place.
“We are preparing a lot of educational projects. There will not only be classes, but also an open school (…) and many extra-curricular activities, from sport, to art and sculpture,” she said.
The education minister praised the “extraordinary work” by local officials to build the classrooms so quickly, and promised that would just be a first step for Amatrice as it tries to get back on its feet.