The Italian university ministry has announced that billion lire (Pounds 10 million) will be paid out immediately to repair the damage to universities in Umbria and Marche during the massive earthquake that ravaged the region in September, Paul Bompard writes.
In the days that followed the first violent shocks, in which four people died, the area was shaken by a series of further tremors, some almost as violent as the first.
Up to 50,000 people were made homeless and are still living in tents and caravans.
Damage to the universities of Perugia, Macerata and Camerino was at first overshadowed by that suffered by buildings of inestimable historic value and by the cost in human misery. Now, however, Camerino is known to have damage estimated at Pounds 9 million and Perugia and Camerino Pounds 1.3 million each.
"This special financing will cover 85 per cent of the cost of repairs," Luciano Guerzoni, under-secretary for universities, said. "I believe this is a significant contribution to speed the return to normal of communities which are the historical seat of important university institutions and in which the universities are an essential fulcrum of cultural and social life."