This is a BBC video on the earthquake in Finale Emilia, Italy. Best wishes to everyone who has suffered and still suffers from this natural disaster!
Like with disasters in Japan and elsewhere, there are not just natural, but also social and political sides to this disaster.
Dutch NOS TV images today showed Italian earthquake survivors, angry at Prime Minister “Mr Austerity” Monti, calling Monti and his entourage “thieves.”
Translated from Dutch NOS TV:
Monti visits earthquake victims’ camp in Italy
Added: Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 11:58
By our editor Eveline Rethmeier in Finale Emilia
This morning, the Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti visited the quake survivors’ camp in Finale Emilia, badly hit by the earthquake this weekend. Many people jeered and booed him.
Monti is responsible for the legal change which put an end to government aid for private property damaged in natural disasters.
“How dare you show yourself here, now that you have just indicated that we will not get any government support. You should be ashamed of yourself!” sounded from the camp while Monti talked to the journalists. …
After the earthquake, over 5000 people spent the night from Saturday to Sunday in tents and shelters. Relief about surviving the disaster predominates, but there is little confidence of a quick return.
Thousands of people have slept in tents and cars when the area after the earthquake of 6.0 still got about a hundred aftershocks.
In the sports centre of the ravaged Finale Emilia 250 people are waiting for news about relief. The coming days they will largely have to stay in the shelters for fear of further aftershocks.
The 73-year-old Giovanni feels gloomy. He lives in the historic center of town and briefly this morning, he was allowed to go with the fire brigade to his home to fetch his medication. When he will be allowed to return, he does not know.
“In L’Aquila after three years, people are still in temporary shelters. No idea why in Italy that must always take so long.” In addition, he saw the open door of a neighbor, while it had been closed when they left.
For many people there are fears that in the affected closed part of the center, burglars will come at night.
After the summer
Azima, a 33-year-old woman, is trying to restrain her four children who are running around. “For them it’s a trip. There are many children of their school and for them, it cannot last long enough. I have not slept for three nights. I think constantly I feel the earth moving.”
The expectation is that the residents of affected areas will not be able to return home till after the summer.
Protest movement gains, parties hurt in Italy vote
21/05 18:29 CET
By Steve Scherer
ROME (Reuters) – Italians delivered a stunning blow to traditional parties on Monday when they elected protest candidates to govern several key cities, signalling a major shift in the political landscape ahead of a general election next year.
In the most sensational result in two rounds of local polls, comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star Movement consolidated its meteoric rise from fringe group to national contender by winning the mayor’s office in Parma, a city of 190,000 people.
Grillo’s 39-year-old candidate Federico Pizzarotti, a political newcomer, defeated Vincenzo Bernazzoli, a seasoned politician supported by a coalition of centre-left parties, according to final official results.
“My victory reflects Italians’ desire for change,” Pizzarotti said.
The two main parties in the right-left coalition that supports Prime Minister Mario Monti – architect of Italy’s tough austerity programme – did not fare well in the local elections on Sunday and Monday.
By putting the parties that support the technocrat prime minister in parliament on the defensive, they could make it more difficult for Monti to push through highly unpopular measures aimed at avoiding a Greek-style debt crisis.
Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Liberty (PDL) party took a walloping in the first round two weeks ago, and lost to the centre left in Piacenza on Monday.
The left-wing Democratic Party (PD) was part of a coalition that won in the port city of Genoa, but was defeated in Palermo as well as Parma.
“The Parma victory is extraordinary. It shows a very clear rejection of the traditional parties,” said James Walston, Professor of International Relations at the American University in Rome.
“The local votes are very much against the parties, and only indirectly against Monti,” Walston said.
Grillo’s movement did especially well in the north, also scoring wins in the small towns of Mira and Comacchio, and taking advantage of a corruption scandal that has badly hurt Berlusconi’s former ally, the Northern League.
That party lost all seven races it contested on Monday.
The shaggy-haired comic’s rise became apparent two weeks ago during the first round of voting, based on his vitriolic criticism of the parties, Monti’s austerity measures, the euro, banks and the debt markets, targets of popular anger also in recent Greek and French national votes.
Greece is politically paralysed after inconclusive elections in which the mainstream parties that engineered the country’s international bailout failed to win enough seats to form a government. In France Socialist Francois Hollande was elected to the presidency on a pro-growth platform.
While a litmus test of Italy’s national mood, Monday’s vote in nearly 120 towns was largely overshadowed by two tragic events over the weekend.
On Sunday, a strong earthquake struck a large area of northern Italy, killing at least seven people, while a Saturday bombing in front of a school in southern Italy killed a teenage girl and ignited fears of a return to the political violence of the 1970s-80s.
In the first round of the local polls, tax hikes, rising unemployment and a series of corruption scandals contributed to driving voters away from Berlusconi and his centre-left rivals towards Grillo.
Italy’s economy slid further into recession in the first three months of this year, the third consecutive quarterly decline and the steepest economic contraction for three years, data published on Tuesday showed.
With Monti’s approval rating dropping to 38 percent, according to pollster SWG, down from 71 percent shortly after he took over from the scandal-plagued Berlusconi in November, the premier is trying to shift focus to growth from austerity.
In a sign of mounting voter disillusion, turnout was sharply down, declining 14 percentage points from the first round to 51 percent.
Turnout was less than 40 percent in Palermo, where veteran mayor Leoluca Orlando, who stood for the opposition Italian Values party, was headed toward a landslide victory over a centre-left candidate. It will be Orlando’s fourth term as mayor of Sicily’s biggest city.
More than 900 cities voted on May 6-7, and Monday’s voting took place in cities where no candidate won more than 50 percent in the first ballot.
(Editing by Barry Moody and Andrew Roche)
Earthquake: Italian workers killed by capitalism: here.
An influential think tank on Tuesday warned that the eurozone risks falling into a “severe recession” unless Brussels tempers neoliberal EU deficit rules with a growth pact: here.
Scientists around the world today condemned an Italian court’s decision to convict six scientists on manslaughter charges for failing to predict an earthquake that devastated the city of L’Aquila in 2009: here.