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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora