What happens when you depend on Madonna or the government to rebuild your town?
And that's exactly what has happened in L'Aquila, the Italian town that was devastated by an earthquake in 2009, according to The Daily Beast.
Over 300 people were killed during the April 2009 quake. Of the 70,000 residents who lived there at the time, 20,000 have moved away. Of the 50,000 who stayed, most still live in temporary housing five years later. Restructuring may top EUR 525 million, according to the report.
It also says that stars such as Madonna and Carla Bruni (France's first lady at the time of quake) made well-publicized pledges to help rebuild: Madonna to the tune of USD 500,000, and Ms Bruni, half the cost to restore a historic church. Both have family ties to the area and/or country. The Daily Beast says that neither have fulfilled their promises.
Also named as not making good on their pledges: the US and Spain. "France, Germany and Russia are a few of the G8 countries that have so far made good on their pledge," says the report.
There's plenty of blame to go around for the money not coming in - from the pop stars who perhaps got caught up in the moment, to the officials who allegedly pocketed money meant for reconstruction.
I won't get into the above, but I do have a question: does it even make sense to have expectations that goodwill will prevail in the wake of a disaster in the first place? Should we really expect the Material Girl and Company to pawn a couple of Grammys and make donations to rebuild a town?
L'Aquila shows why making urban resilience a reality isn't a job for celebrities or governments. Depending on them is as logical as prosecuting seismic experts for deaths during the quake.
What do you think?
Image: A damaged government office in L'Aquila. (TheWiz83 / Wikipedia)
Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk, Earthquakes
Location: L'Aquila, Italy