Slow to recover

On April 6, 2009 the usual bustling university town of L’Aquila was devastated by an earthquake, the worst Italy had seen in 30 years. Leaving more than 300 dead, and 60,000 homeless, then-President Berlusconi’s advice for those left without a home was to see their plight “like a weekend of camping.” On the one-year anniversary I visited L’Aquila to see what progress, if any, had been made in restoring the town and people’s lives. I befriended a group of university students still living in temporary accommodation, and constantly surrounded by reminders of that ruinous day. They lost friends and were endlessly battling survivor’s guilt. Their sorrow for what happened had been replaced by anger in what they believed were false promises and inactivity by their government.