SSVP Italy: situation 6 months after the earthquake
On 24 August last year, an earthquake measuring 6.2 on the Richter scale struck the town of Amatrice, in the centre of Italy, killing over 290 people, with 400 injured. Over six months after the disaster, following the initial emergency help provided by CIAD (5000 €), the National President of the Council of Italy, Antonio Gianfico, shares the work already done on the ground, and the challenges still to be faced :
“Thanks to the emergency help sent by the International Council General through CIAD (International Commission for Aid and Development), we provided material support to the hospital in Aquila which was completely destroyed. We helped the families worst affected, giving them emergency food aid and accommodation for those made homeless. We supported families with small businesses to get back to work and to restore their economic activity. We contributed to the reconstruction of farm buildings”, he continues, pointing to the problems in implementing policies to prevent natural disasters in the country: “several months after the August earthquake, and despite the amount of emergency help provided, very few prevention measures have been taken to combat natural disasters in the long-term”.
Alongside the help received from CIAD, the Italian National Council launched a fund-raising appeal to the general public last October, which collected over 140,000€. With this money, the SSVP provided caravans for residents who had lost their homes to live in while they awaited the reconstruction projects.
In partnership with the diocese of Rieti, a town 80 km north-east of Rome and 60 km from Amatrice, the SSVP hired containers to carry food to the earthquake-hit areas. Antonio Gianfico affirms his wish to create and consolidate local partnerships, “we wish to strengthen our partnerships with as many local and international organisations as possible, so that our work can complement that of other groups, and we can provide more effective help on the ground,” he explains.
In the coming months, the SSVP is planning to build a social centre at Grisciano, a town 15km north of Amatrice, to provide a safe place for the residents who have lost everything to meet together, exchange information and plan the future calmly together. The National Council of Italy therefore needs moral and financial support for this project to take shape, and is appealing to the worldwide Vincentian community for this.
For further information about the National Council of Italy: http://www.sanvincenzoitalia.it/