Quake-Ravaged G8 Setting Still Tent City

By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2009 6:44 AM CDT
Italian Police patrol the area around the Coppito neighborhood, on horseback in L'Aquila, Italy, Monday, July 6, 2009, where the upcoming July 8-10, G8 summit meeting will be hosted.   (AP Photo/Alsssandra Tarantino)
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(Newser) – World leaders have begun arriving in Italy for the G8 summit, which at the last minute Silvio Berlusconi relocated to L'Aquila—the devastated town where 300 died in a massive earthquake. While many praised the Italians for quickly rehousing the victims, rebuilding has been stalled and 15,000 people are still living in tents. "The city's situation is frozen," one man in L'Aquila told the Independent.

The frenzied preparation for the arrival of Barack Obama and other leaders has diverted funds and attention from the town's reconstruction. Guests will be staying in renovated barracks, and Italian TV has broadcast celebrations in the old town to give the impression of renewal. "But it's not true," said a reconstruction advocate. "There is a huge information gap between what people see on television and the reality."