Tag Archives: post-traumatic stress

Tents, cold and uncertainty for Italy’s earthquake survivors

Tent_wheelchair

Even though permanent housing is springing up across L'Aquila, some elderly and physically vulnerable people are still facing L'Aquila's freezing winter in tents and temporary accommodation. Credit: Caritas/Michelle Hough

By Michelle Hough, communications officer for Caritas Internationalis

I’m thinking about how I really should buy a pair of warm boots. My feet are freezing. I’m standing in a tent in L’Aquila, the central Italian town where a 6.3 magnitude earthquake killed over 300 people in April and left over 65,000 people homeless. The drafty blue tent is someone’s home.

Maria Olga, 76, and her two sons have been living in the temporary shelter on the edge of a sports field for seven months. A wheelchair sits between two beds because Maria Olga can’t walk very far. She looks very fragile. There is a stove so they can cook instead of going to the nearby canteen, where “there is always a queue”.  As the tent walls shake in the icy mountain wind I wonder how on earth they manage to live in such conditions.

“They’ve left us with two toilets and two showers which don’t work properly. When you turn them on, ice cubes come out,” jokes Sandro Cicerone, who also lives in the camp which is made up of around 20 tents.  Continue reading

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Filed under Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Europe, Italy