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ABRUZZO EARTHQUAKE UPDATE

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Italy Quake Repairs To Cost About $16B


Official Estimates Staggering Cost To Rebuild Devastated Abruzzo Region After Deadly Quake


















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Italian Carabinieri paramilitary police officers walk on rubble during a night patrol in front of the government’s local headquarters palace, in L’Aquila, April 14, 2009.  (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)



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Finding Hope This Easter


With memories of the earthquake in Italy still fresh, Pope Benedict XVI offered words of hope and encouragement this Easter. Allen Pizzey reports. | Share/Embed





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(CBS/AP)  The region in central Italy ravaged by an earthquake more than a week ago will need at least euro12 billion (about $16 billion) for rebuilding, the country’s interior minister said.

Roberto Maroni said the government would consult with local administrators, including opposition officials, while it seeks resources. Maroni provided the estimate late Tuesday on state television.

The 6.3-magnitude quake that struck the central Abruzzo region on April 6 killed 294 people. It leveled or damaged tens of thousands of homes and other buildings.

Of the 1,467 buildings checked as of Monday, 53 percent were deemed habitable, while the rest had various degrees of damage that made them at least temporarily uninhabitable, the Civil Protection Department said.

There are about 55,000 people displaced by the earthquake – 33,000 of whom are living in the tent camps set up across the region.

Officials say they aim to have people out of the tent cities by next winter, which is very frigid in the mountainous Abruzzo region. Not all of the 55,000 are homeless – many left their homes out of fear amid continuing aftershocks, which are still being felt by the population.

“Many families will be able to go back once they have been reassured,” said Agostino Miozzo of the Civil Protection Department.

“By the end of October, we have to do everything possible so that people who today live in tent camps are given a different solution,” Miozzo said. Possible solutions include putting up families in buildings that were empty before the quake or building prefab homes, he said.

In the coming days, Premier Silvio Berlusconi’s conservative government is expected to approve specially tailored recovery measures, which reports say could include new taxes to help the rebuilding effort.



By the end of October, we have to do everything possible so that people who today live in tent camps are given a different solution.


Agostino Miozzo,
Civil Protection Department
So far, it has approved subsidies for families and business owners, and blocked payments on mortgages and loans until the end of the year.

Berlusconi, who has visited the quake-hit area, is expected to lead a symbolic Cabinet meeting in L’Aquila next week – a way to signal the government’s continuing commitment.

Berlusconi held a Cabinet meeting in Naples at the height of the garbage collection crisis last year.

Meanwhile, prosecutors in L’Aquila have opened an investigation into allegedly shoddy construction practices in the area, a factor blamed for many of the deaths in the temblor.
















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