Milan Expo to provide homes for quake victims

Lombardy governor Maroni visits quake district.

Temporary housing for some 600-650 displaced residents who lost their homes in last month’s devastating earthquake in central Italy have been offered by regional governor Roberto Maroni, who travelled from Milan to Rieti on 7 September to discuss with civil defence officials what more Lombardy could do to help.

The storms at the end of dry, hot weather is making it ever more urgent to find better accommodation than the tent towns thrown up rapidly as a stop-gap by civil defence. Some displaced victims have reluctantly accepted hotel rooms provided in the seaside resort of San Benedetto del Tronto, some 90 km away, while others have preferred to wait for the wooden chalets promised by the government.

Maroni offered to provide 16 three-storey prefab housing units from the Milan Expo 2015 base camp in Rho, designed for disassembling and transport to new locations. In line with government policy of helping displaced residents find shelter as close as possible to their homes while clearing and rebuilding the damaged villages takes place, these homes could be reassembled in the earthquake area much faster than the temporary housing to be built from scratch.

The units on offer were built to provide accommodation for building workers, security staff and other Expo employees during last year’s exposition. Milan's major Giuseppe Sala subsequently hoped that they could be used to house homeless migrants in the city but has not been able to do so because of protests from local residents and political opposition from Maroni.