A devastating earthquake shook central Italy on August 24, killing almost 300 people and leaving thousands without a home. One of the most beautiful historical towns of Italy, Amatrice, was almost completely destroyed, and the whole area near the epicenter is gravely affected.
Refugees step up
Refugees housed in a reception center near Ascoli Piceno were among the first to offer aid in the aftermath of the earthquake. The structure where they are living is only 80 kilometers away from Accumoli, the epicenter of the earthquake.
Letizia Bellabarba, a coordinator for GUS, the charity that provides reception and assistance to the involved refugees, said the asylum seekers came up with the idea themselves: “They said that Italy welcomed and helped them, and it was now their turn to help Italians."
About 50 asylum seekers hosted by GUS came forward to offer help, and they have been helping out under the coordination of Italy’s Civil Protection Department.
Pocket money for victims
Solidarity spread all through the peninsula, starting from the south: in the southern region of Calabria, more than 70 refugees and asylum seekers decided to gave up their meager daily allowance for personal expenses (so-called pocket money) of two euros to help survivors.
These gestures may seem a drop in the ocean, but their value goes way beyond their tangible impact in demonstrating how solidarity and humanity are truly borderless.
The hope is that these kinds of initiatives will help fight stereotypes and misconceptions about refugees and migrants.