• Short Summary

    Efforts to help survivors of Italy's tragic earthquake (23 November) were hindered over the weekend (28-29 November and 1 December) by heavy falls of snow and rain.

  • Description

    SV Refugee camp showing muddy conditions and tents in Potenza, southern Italy. (4 SHOTS)

    SV & GV Bread being distributed.

    GV ZOOM IN ON Caravans being transported from Milan to Genoa. (2 SHOTS)

    SV OF USAF (United States Air Force) plane at Capodichina airport with supplies being unloaded. (4 SHOTS)

    SV West German soldiers helping with relief operations by handing out soup to survivors living in railway carriages. (3 SHOTS)

    SV & GV Heavy earthmoving equipment on train trucks. (2 SHOTS)

    SV Relief camp showing tents in snowy conditions with people carrying out chores (carrying water, clearing snow from roof of tent). (9 SHOTS)

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    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Efforts to help survivors of Italy's tragic earthquake (23 November) were hindered over the weekend (28-29 November and 1 December) by heavy falls of snow and rain. The survivors braved the cold conditions, but some fled the area to take advantage of accommodation on the coast. In the mountainous areas around Potenza, accommodation is the main problem, with wet weather making makeshift homes uninhabitable. The Italian authorities have made an international appeal for caravans to house hundreds of thousands made homeless by the earthquakes.

    SYNOPSIS: The survivor's of Italy's worst natural disaster in 65 years are having to endure relief camps which in recent days have been turned into seas of mud by heavy rain and snow falls. Life in the difficult mountain terrain has become unbearable for some. They have decided not to risk the outbreak of disease or the danger of fresh tremors and have fled to the coast.

    Despite the terrible conditions food supplies are getting through. There have, however, been some reports of piles of perishable food left rotting in muddy fields, adding weight to claims that the whole relief operation has been mismanaged. The main problem appears to be a lack of sufficient temporary accommodation. These caravans are among 500 which were driven from Milan to Genoa by volunteers for transfer by ship. The caravans were bought by the northern provincial government of Lombardy as a gift to the victims of the earthquake in the south.

    Supplies from all over the world are continuing to pour into Italy, through Capodichino airport. This United States Air Force aircraft delivered thousands of blankets, but Italian relief authorities have urged people to stop sending blankets and clothes. What is needed are more caravans with trailers and towing equipment to get the caravans into the devastated hill villages.

    A squad of 650 West German army demolition experts has been sent to the Potenza area to help with the relief effort. Their real purpose is to help rebuild the flattened villages with earthmoving equipment that has been rail freighted to southern Italy.

    For the survivors the early winter snows and rains have added to the misery of having lost homes and family. While they continue to pick up the pieces of their lives, firemen and soldiers comb through ruins for survivors. Officially, there are at least three thousand dead, over fifteen hundred missing and more than seven thousand injured. Rescuers working in the ruins fear that the final death toll will be much higher. The natural disaster in the hills and mountains of the south has sent political shock waves through Italy. The Christian Democrat Prime Minister Arnaldo Forlani, admitted on Monday (1 December) that the full extent of the tragedy had not yet emerged.

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