Ussita is literally gone. Mayor Marco Rinaldi delivered that announcement Friday afternoon at an assembly meeting with the 400 residents of the small town of Macerata. The whole zone has been labeled “red,” including the suburbs, meaning everyone has to leave.
Firefighters have been evaluating the safety of each house over the weekend. They will advise those citizens who cannot stay there and have to move elsewhere, either with friends or relatives if they have the chance. Otherwise they will be placed in hotels on the Adriatic coast.
The decision is unprecedented: For at least the next two months, Ussita will be a ghost town, populated only by day by technicians and workers securing the buildings. There were not too many structural failures after Wednesday’s double earthquake, but the still ongoing aftershocks are very worrying and so it was decided to move the whole town away while the construction sites remain open.
Around 20 municipalities were affected by the earthquake in the province of Macerata, for a total of over 4,000 displaced residents. There were no casualties and few suffered minor injuries, but there have been several damages to properties, including gutted houses, demolished churches and towers and damaged public buildings.