News / Europe

People of L'Aquila Remember Earthquake Victims, Complain About Reconstruction

More than 65,000 people were made homeless and most have been unable to return to their homes. Churches, historic buildings and apartment buildings were destroyed.

People pray near a statue in honor of quake victims during a candle rally in L'Aquila on 06 Apr, 2010, to commemorate the first anniversary of the major earthquake which struck the area
People pray near a statue in honor of quake victims during a candle rally in L'Aquila on 06 Apr, 2010, to commemorate the first anniversary of the major earthquake which struck the area

People in l'Aquila marked a day of mourning to remember the victims of the deadly quake that struck in the middle of the night a year ago. They are sad but also angry at the pace of reconstruction and the fact they have not yet been allowed to return to their homes in the historic center. 

Clapping erupted Tuesday afternoon when thousands of colored balloons were released into the air by the children of L'Aquila. They had gathered in a green field in front of the Basilica of Collemaggio to remember the victims of the deadly quake a year ago.

Noemi still has tears in her eyes as she remembers that terrible night. She took part in a somber procession in the early hours of the morning through the medieval streets of the city. Everyone carried torches and candles. As the names of the victims were read out at 3:32 am, the time of the quake, the bells tolled 308 times.

Today, she says, the sun is shining. It's a lovely day in L'Aquila. This is a beautiful moment, she says, at least we are all here together. We can laugh, unlike last night, despite the memory is always the same one. But at least the children are happy.

Noemi, like many other young students her age, wants to be optimistic about the future. She says they will get their city back but it will take time. It won't be one year or even two. She says the center, which is still practically off-limits, belongs only to the workers and the fire fighters.

There are 200 fire fighters from all over Italy still working in L'Aquila. "After a year we are still escorting people back to their homes to get their personal belongings and we're also assisting the cultural heritage for propping and stabilizing the damaged churches and buildings," said a firefighter. "And we're also working with the Italian army removing some debris from collapsed sites."

More than 65,000 people were made homeless and most have been unable to return to their homes. Churches, historic buildings and apartment buildings were destroyed.

Residents complain not enough has been done after a year. But they are also bothered about something else: the people who come to visit their town. They are tourists who want to see the devastation. They want to see the rubble. They do not understand that people here have been stripped of their lives: they have lost everything: their belongings, their homes and their loved ones.

Sergio came in Tuesday from the Marches region. He had never been to l'Aquila before. He says he came out of curiosity and to see for himself what happened here. It's an empty city, he adds, uninhabited, and it gives you a sense of anguish.

Everything was closed in L'Aquila for a day of city mourning. But even on an ordinary day, only a handful of shops have been reopened in the historic city. The frustration over the lack of progress in reconstruction efforts is in everyone's mind and the big questions is: How long will it take?

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid