Tuesday, April 05, 2011

L'Aquila - Two Years Later

It doesn't seem possible that two years have passed since we were rattled awake in the night by the terrible earthquake that shattered the city of L'Aquila.  We were fortunate; we only felt the tremor and not the devastion that it left behind.  Our hearts broke for the Aquilani as they buried their beloved, looked upon the ravages and ruins with tears streaming down their faces, and said proudly through their pain that they wanted to rebuild their historic and beautiful city.

Two years.   730 days.  Life interrupted and in suspense.  I wondered if progress has been made and my search was less than encouraging.  The once-aristocratic centro storico is still closed off, a dark and silent ghost town with spectrals of past splendor amid the still-present debris and rubble.  Only a handful of businesses have reopened. 

The residents are scattered.  According to the Struttura per la Gestione dell'Emergenza, 38,000 people were displaced from their homes. Some still live in the temporary structures known as MAPS, which aren't much more than a glorified Tuff-Shed.  Others are in the quickly-constructed pre-fab apartments - both are far from the city core.   More than a thousand are still in hotels along the Abruzzo coast.  250 people are "living" in the barracks of the Guardia di Finanza.  More than 15,000 people have left the the area; they've given up and gone off to rebuild a life elsewhere, far from home. 

It's sad; the soul and identity of the city is still in rubble, two years later.  Apathy and lack of funds and commitment have stalled the reconstruction efforts while the Aquilani continue to cry out, "Rebuild our city!"  I hope their voices will be heard.
* * * * * * *

Il Centro newspaper site features a two-year then and now photo stream of L'Aquila as it was just after the quake, a year ago, and today.
Read last year's tribute and accompanying links, A Day of Remembrance.


janie said...

Valerie-thank you for the link to the photos. It's heartbreaking.

J.Doe said...

This is a very sad post but I'm glad you wrote it.

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

It is so sad that so little has been done since that dreadful day.

marybeth said...

ciao bella,
thanks for the update on L'Aquila. I was thinking of going there in July, but perhaps I'll wait. I'll be house-sitting in Zagarolo in May and June, a nice change from my usual fall trips to Italy. I seem to remember that you have a connection in Zagarolo?


Valerie said...

Thanks...yes, it's sad. I know it takes time, but I had really hoped to see more progress.

Marybeth - Ciao! Yes, we have a dear friend who's family is from Zagarolo and he still has his country property there. Cute town! If you make it further south give us a holler.

Diana and "Guido" said...

I agree with what all the others said, but I also have to wonder why a country such as Italy (not third world)
would not have done a bit better by this place.
But for the grace of god(s)...?

Grace said...

Ciao Valerie,

As it has already been said, the photos are simply heartbreaking. My heart goes out to all of those who have been displaced. It unfortunately reminds me of the situation in New Orleans in the US. After the initial press of the devastation, the country seemed to just moved on, even though so much needs to be done. Hopefully both cities will someday be able to return to their previous splendor.