The Italian government has declared a state of emergency for the regions of Abruzzo, Lazio, Marche and Umbria affected by the earthquake of 24 August. Caritas Italy and local Church staff are working to provide aid there in support of affected people.
There are 3,500 people who have lost their homes. The Church has made buildings available for some of them. Staff are also providing counselling, outreach services and basic needs to the injured and the most vulnerable.
Caritas Italy has given an initial €200,000 to the local diocesan Caritas of Rieti and Ascoli Piceno to provide for the most urgent needs. Caritas is currently supporting specialised services such as distributing 1,200 meals a day. It’s focus will also be on medium to long-term aid.
“To rebuild, we must start from the people, from the social fabric of these towns and villages”, said Caritas Italy Director, Don Francesco Soddu.
The broad lines of Caritas Italiana’s efforts will be:
- Provision of humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable and most marginal areas during the early stages.
- Reconstruction of social structures such as centres for vulnerable groups like the elderly, disabled and families in need.
- Homes for the poorest families.
- Psychological and social support to those who have remained in the earthquake zone and also those from other parts of Italy who were in the affected areas during the holidays, lived through this trauma or lost a relative.
- Support small companies affected by the earthquake, especially those owned by young and vulnerable families.
- Create cooperatives and social enterprises that can contribute to local development as well as providing a source of employment for local unemployed.