Sunday, November 06, 2016

Italian gov't takes emergency measures for quake-hit regions

The Italian government has decided to take emergency measures for the central Italian regions that were struck by strong earthquakes between August 24 and October 30.

A new decree was approved on Friday, concerning agriculture, school, cultural heritage and the housing of the involved populations. The law also authorizes hiring of temporary staff, and sets the steps to deal with bureaucracy.

According to the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, the ongoing seismic sequence is still continuing and about 23,300 aftershocks have hit the central areas since the tremor of Aug. 24.

The Italian authorities vowed to recreate the quake-hit towns, with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi saying "everything will be rebuilt".

So far, the National Civil Protection has assisted more than 30,000 people in the regions of Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche and Umbria, following the strong earthquakes that hit the four regions on Aug. 24, Oct. 26 and Oct. 30.

The main emergency now is to ensure adequate housing assistance to the populations affected by the shocks, according to the new government decree. The government has asked the Department of Civil Protection to provide containers and to identify where should install them in safe areas.

Concerning the housing emergency, Renzi has spoken about four phases. In the first, people will be requested to leave the affected areas, if possible. In the second phase, citizens will be relocated in containers.

In spring or summer, the premier said, people will be hosted by small houses in wood. The fourth stage will be the reconstruction. According to local media, this plan was designed after the refusal by many people to leave the affected areas.

The decree authorizes the hiring of temporary technical and administrative staff.

Italian Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti told media earlier this week that in addition to military and vehicles already on the ground, another 500 servicemen will be sent to quake-hit areas in coordination with the Ministry of Interior to oversee the earthquake zones and prevent acts of looting.
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