Silvio Berlusconi offers 'cruises and seaside holidays' to earthquake victims

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London, June 1 (ANI): Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced "cruises and seaside holidays" for those rendered homeless by the earthquake that hit the country last month.

The earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale had left 299 people dead and hundreds more injured in the tremor, which hit the city of L'Aquila.

"We are looking at arranging day trips to the seaside for those families in tents as well as Mediterranean cruises, especially for the children," the Telegraph quoted Berlusconi as saying.

The Prime Minister had earlier asked the earthquake survivors, living in tents, to treat the experience "like a camping weekend."

Berlusconi also said that 45 million euros had been raised for those affected by the calamity, and that a five-panel commission had been set up to ensure that the funds were not misused.

He said that he hoped all those in tents would be back in homes declared safe by September, while those who needed new homes would be allowed to stay on in hotels.

However, the suggestion has not been well accepted by the people living in the tents, and 500 people attended a rally and march through the still rubble strewn streets of L'Aquila.

"The idea of a Mediterranean cruise makes me laugh," said protestor Luisa Leopardi.

"All of us who are without are homes or businesses would much rather see the money that would be spent on cruises and holidays going towards rebuilding," she added. (ANI)

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