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Brussels (AFP) Sept 19, 2012
The European Commission offered Wednesday 670 million euros ($880 million) to help reconstruction efforts after two powerful earthquakes in northern Italy caused loss of life and massive damage.
The quakes hit the Emilia-Romagna region in May and June 2012 and the aid will help "cover the huge costs of restoring essential infrastructure, providing shelter and rescue services as well as protecting the cultural heritage of the region.
"The priority is to rehouse and support the tens of thousands of people rendered homeless by this unprecedented disaster," the Commission said in a statement.
The Italian authorities estimate the direct damage at 13.3 billion euros, the Commission said, with most of the EU aid going to house some 43,000 people over three years during reconstruction work.
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