FEATURES » Earthquake damage estimated in excess of 23 billion euros

Earthquake damage estimated in excess of 23 billion euros

The seismic sequence that from the 24th of August to the 18th of January hit central Italy caused damage for 23.5 billion 530 million euro. The figure includes both the real structural damage and the cost to face the emergency. 12.9 billion of this amount refer to damage relating to private buildings and € 1.1 billion to public buildings. The complete file relating to the assessment of damage and the cost related to the earthquake in Umbria, Marche, Lazio and Abruzzo was sent by the Department of Civil Protection to Brussels for the activation of the EU Solidarity Fund. The estimates also consider the additions coming from the Regions after the shake of the 18th of January.   


Italy had already sought EU aid in November, after a 6.0-magnitude quake shook the mountain town of Amatrice in August, killing 295 people. The European Commission had already unblocked an initial 30 million euros on November 29th, the maximum amount available while awaiting Italy's full estimate.


The damage at the time was estimated at just seven billion euros. Since then, several powerful quakes have shaken the region, leaving thousands of people homeless for months.


The cost will also be part of the dispute with Brussels over Italy's 2017 budget targets.


Italy declared that the quakes, along with the influx of migrants seeking to enter Europe, are exceptional events that should allow the country to ease up on deficit reduction targets.


The tourism and agricultural industries which form the backbone of the region's economy have also been badly hit. Many hotels and agritourism sites located in the area are out of use, while farms suffered damage and according to consumer organization Coldiretti an estimated 10,000 animals were affected by the earthquakes.


Mayors of the devastated towns have spoken out to say they feel "abandoned" by the government. A great number of residents from the central region protested in Rome at the beginning of this year. 


There are 11.599 people assisted by the National Service of Civil Protection following the earthquakes that hit the central Italian territory on August 24, 26 and 30 October 2016 and 18 January 2017. The additional heavy snow caused even more damage. The data are in constant evolution and the numbers don't  include those who found an accommodation independently.    


Giulia Lombardo

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