Earlier this afternoon, the Italian parliament passed a special earthquake decree with funds of $40 million available. The decree states that victims of the quake will have their taxes abated, that the self-employed must be allocated welfare payments, utility bills and loans are to be suspended until further notice and farmers will have their produce collected. For the younger victims, the 200-day minimum school attendance will be waived and a fund of $145 million has been approved to reconstruct damaged school buildings.
Stringent anti-looting measures in the area were also specified in the bill. To date, there were two arrests in the village of Onna, according to Italian news agency Ansa, but the couple was later released after they proved that the amount of money they were carrying – $105,000 – indeed belonged to them.
Ann Wise contributed to the reporting of this story.