Caritas looking to the future following Italy’s earthquake
08 June 2009
Caritas is in the second phase of its recovery programme which includes planning to help rebuild schools , community centres and houses in a long-term project.
Caritas is planning to help rebuild schools , community centres and houses in a long-term project following central Italy’s massive earthquake on 6th April.
Seven weeks after after a 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the medieval city of L’Aquila, leading to the deaths of 300 people and making tens of thousands homeless, Caritas is in the second phase of its recovery programme.
Caritas organisations from various Italian dioceses have sent delegations to L’Aquila and these have been “twinned” with neighbourhoods in the city.
Around 1,400 volunteers are involved in the twinning, which ensures a long-term presence in communities as well as continuity in the areas of assessment, aid provision and counselling.
Caritas is looking at communities’ needs for reconstructing their homes and lives. As well as reconstructing existing buildings, Caritas it planning to build a community centre combined with social housing for the elderly and economically vulnerable people. The projects will focus on the Paganica-Onna area and the expected completion date is October 2010.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, in which Caritas L’Aquila’s headquarter were destroyed, Caritas set up a coordination centre from which it distributed food, clothes, hot meals and medicines. It also provided counselling and support and was requested by the local authorities to put special focus on the city’s migrant population.
The 15 strong staff of Caritas L’Aquila swelled to 300 within days as volunteers flocked to the scene of the disaster from around Italy.
The earthquake, which struck in the early hours of the morning, flattened many buildings and damaged L’Aquila’s artistic heritage. Almost 60,000 had to live in tents as the disaster either destroyed their homes or damaged them to the extent that they needed official assessments being before being declared inhabitable.