Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Camping weekend" in Italy

The recent earthquake in the city of L'Aquila, in central Italy, left the town in ruins and 17,000 people lost their homes. The response by the Italian government was prompt, setting tents for the affected people and providing them with food and temporary shelter; an experience that the Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, suggested the homeless inhabitants of L'Aquila should enjoy as a "camping weekend".

This absurd comment, far from injecting positiveness into the public and confidence that the Italian Government is working for the well being of the people of L'Aquila, sparked a wave of criticism towards Berlusconi and raised doubts about the seriousness with which he is handling the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Italy. It is not rocket science to figure out that the Italian public, and particularly the people directly affected by the earthquake, would not enjoy to have someone making inappropriate comments about their tragedy. And what could be worse than having an Italian leader himself making them?

But, as a report that appeared in The Guardian suggests, the help that the Italian government has provided to the people of L'Aquila is far from feeling as a "camping weekend", especially when as many as 200 people lacked a tent to sleep during the night, which was worsened by the rain and cold conditions in the area. Needless to say, the mood of the people affected by the earthquake does not allow them to enjoy the "camping weekend" at all. Despite Berlusconi's bizarre comments, it is remarkable that the Italian Government has had a fast response to help its citizens in these hard times.

My sympathy goes to the people from L'Aquila, wishing that they recover fast from this catastrophe.

Photo by AP


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