Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
A month after an earthquake killed nearly 300 people in Italy, the initial goodwill towards authorities for their swift handling of the disaster appears to be giving way to anger as survivors face an uncertain wait for promised funds and the prospect of a long summer in tents.
Italy’s government is promising to start providing the thousands made homeless in the central Italian region of Abruzzo with new, furnished houses by September — in what would be record speed anywhere. But continued aftershocks, rain and chilly temperatures have made life increasingly difficult for survivors in tents, which left-leaning newspapers have seized upon to issue long accounts of the “nightmare” of life in the 170 tent camps.
“I feel like I’ve already spent an entire lifetime inside here but only 30 days have passed,” one tent-dweller, Claudio, told La Repubblica newspaper, which said the arrival of reconstruction funds in installments meant some people might have to wait nearly two years for a house.
A government decree promising 8 billion euros ($10.7 billion) to rebuild the areas devastated by the earthquake has also fallen under a cloud of controversy. Mayors in quake-hit towns complain it undermines their role in rebuilding efforts and the opposition say it is inadequate.
Many developing countries are mired in dated bureaucratic practice and tangled in red tape, but of all of them, Iraq can perhaps least afford to see its crucial post-war development suffocated under mounds of paperwork.
What hangs in the balance is nothing less than whether oil-rich Iraq can emerge from years of war as a prosperous, democratic and secure state — or whether it sinks back into the bloodshed that almost tore it apart.
A love of official stamps, seals and documents in triplicate is by no means only an Iraqi phenomenon. Receiving shipments at Cairo airport, for example, involves one queue to buy a ticket, another to receive it and a third to get it laminated.