Record Solidarity sum to be paid out for Emilia Romagna restoration
(12 December 2012)
The Commission has given the green light for the disbursement of a record sum of EUR 670 million from the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF) to Italy for recovery operations in the wake of the devastating earthquakesin Emilia-Romagna earlier this year.
The severe earthquakes hit the region with a force of 5.9 on the Richter scale on 20 May 2012, followed by hundreds of aftershocks spreading out into the neighbouring regions of Veneto and Lombardy. The earthquakes caused 27 deaths; an estimated 350 people were injured and over 45 000 people had to be evacuated. There was serious and widespread damage to buildings, infrastructure, businesses, industrial facilities, agriculture and to the important cultural heritage sector.
This is the largest amount of aid granted by the Fund since it was created in 2002, reflecting the scale of damage that was inflicted by these earthquakes here on thousands of families, on their homes, their livelihoods and on the region's economy as a whole.
Since the EUSF is financed over and above the normal EU budget, the Commission proposed on 19 September an amending budget to cover the amount involved, which was subject to the approval of EU Finance Ministers and the European Parliament. The Italian authorities have announced that the bulk of the money (338 million) is foreseen to cover the costs of emergency aid and rescue operations as well as temporary accommodation. Some EUR 292 million are earmarked for the immediate restoration of education and health facilities, and reparation of electricity and water systems. The full amount of the grant is expected to be paid out in coming days.