QUAKE: Berlusconi pledges funds 'will be found'

Fri, 04/10/2009 - 09:41

Premier Silvio Berlusconi on Friday said he ''guaranteed'' that funds needed to reconstruct the quake-stricken Abruzzo capital of L'Aquila and neighbouring towns would be found.

The premier said Italy had ten weeks to present a detailed report to the European Union fund for natural disasters and expected to receive ''between 400 and 500 million euros over three years''.

He said the Italian government had already earmarked 100 million euros to deal with the disaster as well as an additional 16 million from the education ministry to rebuild student housing destroyed in the quake.

The premier said a decree containing measures to ease financial pressures on the 29,000 people left temporarily or permanently homeless by the earthquake would be issued after Easter.

The package includes a monthly sum of 400 euros to help with rent for families, a monthly allowance of 800 euros for business owners who have had to cease activity, and suspensions on electricity, gas and mortgage payments.