ITALIANS left homeless by catastrophic earthquakes in 2012 have now been left furious after being told new homes were to be found for 200 migrants.
Towns that were badly damaged in the 6.1 and 5.8 magnitude quakes resemble building sites and local authorities admit reconstruction is a long way from being completed.
Many of those made homeless in the disaster are still living in emergency makeshift accommodation while others remain in the houses of friends, relatives and parents.
And they were outraged when the area was taken out of special measures on January 1, paving the way for the first wave of migrants to be relocated there.
But for people struggling in the nine municipalities that make up the Northern Area which was badly affected by the earthquakes, the idea of trying to re-house migrants is at best a bad joke and at worst a provocation that is sending waves of fury through the region.
The Northern Area has been told to find accommodation for an initial 219 migrants and refugees as part of the nationwide dispersal programme.
Local politicians said initial disbelief among the community has now spilled over into to anger and indignation.
Antonio Platis, council adviser for the town of Mirandola – which has 900 earthquake survivors on a housing waiting list and has now been told to take in 61 migrants – has launched a petition which gathered more than 650 signatures in just a few hours.
“But what has changed since January? Are the works finished for the earthquake victims? It does not seem that way since in Mirandola alone there are still 900 people waiting for a house.
“Life is hard here even though the population has decided to rebuild.
“Our social services will collapse anytime soon when they are forced to cope with queues of people who come to the council for help.
“Where will these refugees go?”
The first Emilia-Romagna earthquake struck in the early hours of May 20, 2012 killing seven people and causing widespread damage in the towns of Finale Emilia, Bondeno and Sermide.
A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck the same area nine days later causing an additional twenty deaths and more destruction, particularly to buildings already weakened by the early quake.