On the night of 24 August a magnitude 6.2 earthquake has struck central Italy, leaving more than 260 deaths, among which an appalling number of children, and several missing. Some villages in the area of the earthquake have been levelled to the ground and there are fears that the number of casualties and injured could rise. These areas are also highly suffering from the bad disruption of transport and communications services and facilities. Thousands of those who survived the earthquake who might have lost their families, their beloved ones, and their houses, are now sheltered in camps and tents, timely settled by the Civil protection force.

ETUCE expresses condolences and great sorrow regarding the situation in central Italy. “We are concerned, in particular, about the fate of many children and students, and of teachers” said Martin Rømer, ETUCE European Director. Students and teachers may be among the victims of the disaster, those who survived may be injured or be unable to grant and receive education in this very moment and in the weeks to come. In addition, many school buildings are now destroyed or in extremely unsafe conditions. Several times, all the Italian education trade unions have denounced the unsafety and insecurity of the school buildings across the country, mostly placed in a territory which is highly seismic. Amongst around 40.000 school buildings in Italy, 27.920 are in high earthquake risk area, and only 7.9% are earthquake resistant[1].

ETUCE member organisations in Italy, FLC-CGIL, CISL Scuola and UIL Scuola and have jointly demanded the Italian Minister of Education to urgently intervene to safeguard the imminent future of teachers and school staff in the area concerned by the earthquake, and “to take all the necessary measures” to ensure education to all students once the situation evolves, given the approaching of the new school term.

All Italian unions have promptly joined in solidarity to provide assistance and support to the people affected by the earthquake. In deep and sincere sympathy with the Italian people facing the pain of loss, ETUCE expresses its solidarity to all those who are voluntarily making efforts digging through the rubble to rescue those who could still be alive, providing relief and assistance to the thousands of people who have been physically and psychologically hit by the earthquake, in a joint effort to rebuild lives and communities.