We’ve had a lot of nasty weather lately and even had damage in Calabria, but nothing even close to the mudslides in Messina, just across the Strait. The death toll is expected to reach at least 50 and the number of homeless 400, making these mudslides the worst in Italy since 150 people were killed in mudslides in Naples in 1998.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has reportedly called off a visit to the area so he doesn’t get in the way of rescue efforts. How considerate! What a nice vaffanc…erm…thank you to the South who continually puts this man back in office.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano did tour the affected area, however, and had this to say:
There is a situation of widespread hydro-geological instability and that’s mainly because of unauthorised buildings in the Messina area, and many others in Italy. A serious plan is needed, rather than massive prestige projects, to invest in the safety of these zones, or other disasters will happen.
Nice to see someone in power at least looking toward the future and how to prevent something like this from happening again, although in Berlusconi’s defense, perhaps he has more important things to do like try to break up “Cloonalis” and wrestle showgirl Elisabetta Canalis away from George Clooney or something.
What, you think I’m being too harsh? Check out these 19 Unbelievable Berlusconi Quotes and get back to me.
Anyway, you may remember I visited and loved Messina, and also that P has a sister living there (she and her family are fine). As far as I know, there is no government or other organized special effort to help the victims in Messina, but if you know of something please let me know, and I’ll post it here.
In the meantime, the Comune of Messina has established a bank account accepting donations:
- C.C. IBAN IT 91Y0102016598000300034781; C.C.P. N. 1406398
Payments can be made to “Comune di Messina – Servizio Tesoreria” specifying “pro-alluvionati” in the memo section.
And of course you can always donate to the Italian Red Cross.
Siamo con voi, Messina!
*UPDATE: Apparently Berlusconi changed his mind and showed up in Messina today to promise affected residents they would be exempt from taxes and added: “Reconstruction is too expensive and cannot be assured, so we will do like in L’Aquila: new homes in other areas, but still within the urban fabric.”
Nice thought, if only this actually was being done in L’Aquila….
And while I’m picking on Berlu, did you know the law that granted him immunity from criminal prosecution while he was in office (that, of course, he pushed through) is up for review by Italy’s Constitutional Court this week? Pins and needles here!