Prince Charles Tours Earthquake-Damaged Town in Central Italy

April 3, 2017

By SW

 

Prince Charles shakes hands with Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of Amatrice

Prince Charles visited the central Italian town of Amatrice today to inspect reconstruction efforts and the damage caused by a major earthquake last year. The Prince of Wales met with the town mayor Sergio Pirozzi and toured a part of the red zone – the town center now largely reduced to rubble.

“It’s an important visit for us,” Sergio Pirozzi, Mayor of Amatrice, said. “We found out he was coming two weeks ago. So far everything has gone smoothly.”

Charles placed flowers at a memorial commemorating the nearly 300 people killed during the August 2016 earthquake and toured the emergency homes built for those whose houses were destroyed.

Of the 457 homes ordered for Amatrice, only 25 have been completed. These were consigned to residents on March 15, 2017, eight months after the first earthquake. 62 more are expected to be completed in the coming weeks, Civil Protection Officer Francesca Maffini said.

Italian soldiers build emergency homes for Amatrice residents

Charles also visited Amatrice’s new school and Save the Children daycare center, as well as the construction site of what is to be the town’s new commercial zone.

“It’s a very important emotional contribution,” school president Maria Rita Pitoni said, “The children prepared drawings of the Prince and the Duchess Camilla.”

A drawing for Prince Charles from one of Amatrice’s students

“He asked us if we had a good English teacher,” Pitoni said, “and then joked that he needed a good Italian teacher himself.”

The new school was one of the first emergency structures built, inaugurated on September 13, 2016 only a few weeks after the first earthquake struck in August.

Charles’ last stop on the tour was the construction site of the planned commercial zone, where a food tasting was prepared for him by local producers.

Prince Charles jokes with reporters while visiting Amatrice’s school

After the Amatrice disaster, Queen Elizabeth made a personal donation to help re-house the homeless and restore damaged churches, according to AFP.

Amatrice is one of many towns in central Italy left in ruins after a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck on August 24 and another 6.6 magnitude earthquake struck on October 30, 2016.

On Saturday April 1, protesters gathered in the region and in front of parliament in Rome to demand that the government speed up the construction of new quake-proof houses and help local farmers and businesses get back on their feet, AFP reported.