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. Three in four quake homes habitable in a month: Berlusconi

by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) April 19, 2009
Three quarters of homes in the L'Aquila zone rocked by the April 6 earthquake will be habitable within a month, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said.

Fifty-seven percent of homes are already habitable, and another 19 percent will be after work which should take less than a month, Berlusconi told Italian media on Saturday, citing experts during his fourth visit to the quake zone.

The number of homeless is estimated at nearly 58,000, of whom 34,000 are living in tent camps.

Berlusconi also affirmed no new tax would be needed to finance the reconstruction work and repeated his pledge that none of the residents in the mountainous Abruzzo region would still be living under canvas by the winter.

The prime minister said a list of 38 buildings of artistic or religious importance was being sent to the many countries which had offered to help in their reconstruction, to allow them to be temporarily "adopted" to finance the work.

Buildings restored under the scheme could be named after the country which sponsored their reconstruction, he has already suggested.

A poll published Sunday in the Corriere della Sera newspaper said that most people judged Berlusconi's handling of the crisis positively.

Forty eight percent of those polled said they had "more confidence" in Berlusconi than before, while 30 percent said their confidence in him had not changed.

Only six percent said they had less confidence in him than before and 11 percent still held the same negative view of the leader, according to the survey carried out for the daily by the ISPO polling institute.

At least 10 percent of supporters of the leftwing opposition admitted they were impressed by how energetic and busy the 72-year-old centre-right leader had been since the quake, constantly at the scene and on television screens promising aid and comfort for the victims.

jflm/ss/lth

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Lima (AFP) April 17, 2009
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