Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Guardia di Finanza - L'Aquila May 26, 2010
Today, Professor Mori set up a tour and meeting at the Guardia di Finanza, Comando Scuola Ispettori e Sovrintendenti. We were hosted by Ten. Col. Paolo Carretta, Capo Uffcio Addestramento e Studi. We were given a presentation and shown videos on the role of the Guardia di Finanza in the days of the earthquake on April 6, 2009. The Guardia is a department of the Italian Minister of Finance and serves multiple roles including military and police. They have a large training facility in L'Aquila and it served as a command post, rescue center, staging center, emergency housing center, hospital and more during the aftermath of the earthquake. It reminded me much of the LSU South Research Park which was the staging area for all of the emergency responders going into New Orleans during the aftermath of Katrina. The original Scuola for the Guardia was established in 1896. The work done by the Guardia immediately after the earthquake was heroic. They went in to rescue the injured, recover the dead, secure the area to prevent further injury or loss of life and provide any needed services to begin the recovery process. Their officers are present today when touring the devastated areas of the historic city. Another highlight of the tour was to see the work done by the partnership between the Guardia and the Vigili del Fucco (Fire Department). The video showed both groups going into the damaged churches and museums and saving priceless works of art, church artifacts and even the Tomb of Pope Celestine V. The churches were secured, valuable works taken to safety and then repairs were able to begin. During the tour of the Guardia di Finanza, we were shown the rooms where the G 8 summit was held in the months after the quake and the residence set up for President Obama. The Guardia was able to respond to the requests to host the G 8 in L'Aquila to bring attention to the disaster. They responded by providing logistics and security for the event that got international attention and even prompted President Obama to support the trip for the L'Aquila faculty to visit the USA, including Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. I will post pictures of the facility during a future blog.