Govt will respond to Rigopiano questions - Gentiloni (4)
Will step up disaster prevention
22 Gennaio 2018
Rome, January 22 - The government will respond to questions raised by the Hotel Rigopiano avalanche disaster that killed 29 people a year ago, Premier Paolo Gentiloni said Monday while meeting victims' relatives with President Sergio Mattarella at the presidential Quirinale Palace. The government and the parliament that emerges from a March 4 general election will step up disaster prevention, he said. Mattarella, for his part, said the problem of who to punish for the January 18 2017 avalanche disaster is a problem for the whole of Italy to answer. Speaking to victims' relatives, Mattarella said "it is up to the judiciary to establish who was at fault". He said "we look to the magistrature with trust". Mattarella stressed the importance of a thorough investigation helping ensure that such disasters did not recur. Last Thursday Italy marked one year from the Abruzzo hotel disaster. The day started with a ceremony during which a wreath of flowers was placed at the entrance of what is left of the resort, in the presence of the victims' families, authorities and local residents. Events promoted by the committee representing victims' families also included a torchlight procession to the local church, where the Archbishop of Pescara-Penne Tommaso Valentinetti celebrated mass. Another commemoration took place at the sports center of Pecce, where rescuers were based a year ago. Poetry readings and a concert with tenor Piero Mazzocchetti and the Claudio Monteverdi Youth Orchestra also took place.. The commemoration ended with the Monte Camicia choir and artists from the group "Le stanze di Federico & Friends" who have recorded a song called 'Dove la neve non cade', or where the snow doesn't fall. President Sergio Mattarella and Premier Paolo Gentiloni met victims' families Monday. On January 18 last year an avalanche hit the resort as 40 people, including guests and staff, were inside, while the region was grappling with extreme weather conditions and the hotel was engulfed by snow. Some of the 29 victims were instantly crushed to death while others who remained trapped died of hypothermia and asphyxiation. Prosecutors are investigating a total of 23 people over delays prior to the incident in cleaning out the only road connecting the hotel to town and in subsequently getting help quickly. Investigators suspect that local authorities had not taken seriously calls for help from two people who escaped the hotel. Rescuers reached the site several hours after the incident and had to travel on foot because roads had been blocked by heavy snow.