Sicilian ghost town Poggioreale to become a ‘seismic lab’
A special agreement between the Regional Government of Sicily Region and the Municipality of Trapani, in the Belice Valley, provides for the protection and enhancement of the ruins of the town of Poggioreale, which was destroyed by a heavy earthquake in 1968. This will make the ghost town a training centre for civil protection as well as a repository for communal memory.
The 1968 earthquake killed 200 of the town’s residents.
The town of Poggioreale stands as a stark monument to the destructive capability of nature and the precariousness of the human condition. The Belice Valley Earthquake destroyed it completely, killing off 200 of its inhabitants and forcing the rest to relocate, making them, in a sense, environmental refugees.
The objective of the regional government is to make the old town a sort of open-air "laboratory" for seismology scholars and technicians in the sector, but also a destination for teaching and, at the same time, a field of exercises for civil protection volunteering.
“It was a commitment that I had made last February with the municipal administration and with all the citizens, on the occasion of my inspection where the ancient Poggioreale stood. The development of this area, devastated by the earthquake and marked by hundreds of victims, passes from the enhancement of the existing, of what is left, but also of what was created in the subsequent reconstruction season,” stated Nello Musumeci, the President of Sicily, adding:
“Those ruins - once secured - deserve respect for their identity value and can become a precious opportunity for the whole area. An original project, perhaps among the few in Europe, which could also offer an opportunity to attract and grow local communities”.
The agreement also provides for specific agreements with the national department of civil protection, the armed forces, the regional fire department, the Italian red cross, the universities, the superintendence for the cultural and environmental heritage of Trapani, and the schools, and research centres.
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