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. Italian authorities warned over quake-zone buildings: report

by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) April 16, 2009
Officials in the quake-hit Abruzzo region failed to act on warnings from as far back as 1999 that hundreds of their public buildings were vulnerable to earthquakes, press reports said Thursday.

Dozens of buildings that collapsed in April 6 quake that killed 294 people had already been identified as at risk, said reports in La Stampa and Il Corriere della Sera newspapers.

The findings were in a detailed survey carried out 10 years ago by the then head of civil protection, Franco Barberi.

And although his findings were integrated into 2007 data produced by the Abruzzo region itself, no action was taken to remedy the situation, Il Corriere della Sera reported.

Barberi's report identified 171 schools in the region as "highly vulnerable".

After the quake, experts said 80 percent of school buildings in the medieval town of l'Aquila, the epicentre of the quake, were uninhabitable.

Other public buildings in the town, including the police headquarters and the public library -- considered high- or medium-risk in the report -- either collapsed or were seriously damaged by the quake.

L'Aquila's San Salvatore hospital, identified as a medium-risk building, was partially destroyed in this month's earthquake.

Barberi's report also identified 550 houses or stone buildings in the town judged to be of poor quality and thus vulnerable in the event of a quake.

Italy's Interior Minister Roberto Maroni said Wednesday that reconstruction in the region would cost some 12 billion euros (16 billion dollars).

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Italy quake reconstruction will cost 12 bln euros: minister
Rome (AFP) April 15, 2009
Reconstruction of the zones in central Italy ravaged by the April 6 quake will cost around 12 billion euros (16 billion dollars), said Italy's interior minister in a report published Wednesday.

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