Solidarity with Italy: the EU offers help following the earthquake in Ischia and continues to support those people still affected one year after the earthquake of 24 August 2016
The Commission closely followed the earthquake that struck the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, and announced that it would provide Italian authorities with emergency assistance. This earthquake occurred just before 24 August, the date last year when the very heart of Italy was struck by an earthquake that took the lives of nearly 300 people in the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Lazio, Marches and Umbria. Aftershocks followed in October 2016 and January 2017. This date remains an open wound for many grieving souls. The Italians have not forgotten, and Europe has not forgotten the Italians: for a year now, Europe has been helping the affected population. Immediately after the disaster, the European Commission supported the Italian Civil Protection authorities, providing maps from the European Copernicus satellite system via the Emergency Response Coordination Centre. President Juncker then expressed his admiration for the strength and determination of the Italian people. He announced that the Basilica San Benedetto of Norcia, destroyed by the earthquake, would be restored with the help of European funds as a symbol of the intangible friendship and solidarity the EU has with Italy. In December, the Commission paid an initial financial aid instalment of EUR 30 million from the EU Solidarity Fund, and in June 2017, they proposed to mobilise funds to the tune of EUR 1.2 billion, the largest amount ever granted under the Fund. In parallel, the Commission proposed a new support mechanism for the aftermath of natural disasters whereby up to 95 % of reconstruction work would be financed with European funds. This mechanism, which has now been in force since July 2017, is available to any Member State to be affected by a disaster. Finally, last week (17 August), young volunteers from the European Solidarity Corps arrived in Norcia to help with reconstruction work and to provide services to the local population. In total, around 230 young people are expected to lend a hand by 2020 to those communities affected by the earthquakes in Italy. This is all symbolic of a Europe that protects its citizens and works on their behalf. More information on EU support provided to Italy following the earthquakes is available in this data sheet.