L’Aquila: Italy PM opens park in memory of earthquake victims

Draghi promises major funding to help reconstruct L’Aquila.

Italian premier Mario Draghi travelled to L’Aquila on Tuesday morning to inaugurate a park in memory of the 309 victims of the earthquake that devastated the Abruzzo capital in 2009.

Describing the earthquake as a “deep wound inflicted on the community”, Draghi said: “We cannot and must not forget,” hailing the victims as “309 angels.”

Draghi said the memorial park is an open space symbolic of “the emptiness left by those who died that terrible night” but added that it will be filled by families and children at play among the fountains, “a symbol of life that must be reborn by drawing strength from the memory of a tragedy.”

  • L’Aquila marks 12th anniversary of deadly earthquake

The prime minister said that €1.78 billion in funds, drawn from Italy’s national recovery and resilience plan (PNRR), would be allocated to the central Italian areas hit by earthquakes in 2009, 2016 and 2017, with the funding to be used for “safe and sustainable reconstruction, environmental recovery, and initiatives to support citizens and businesses.”

Earlier this year Italy marked the 12th anniversary of the 6.3-magnitude earthquake that struck L’Aquila in the early hours of 6 April 2009, killing 309 people, leaving 70,000 homeless and devastating more than 50 villages in the central Abruzzo region.