Italy earthquake: Mayor of devasted town tells tourists to stop taking selfies in rubble where 300 died

Lizzie Dearden
A firefighter and an alpine soldier look at rubble in the hilltop town of Amatrice as an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.6 struck central Italy: Massimo Percossi/ANSA via AP

The mayor of a town where almost 300 people died in Italy’s devastating earthquake has pleaded with visitors to stop flocking to the area for “disaster tourism”.

Sergio Pirozzi said three quarters of Amatrice “just isn’t there anymore” following the earthquake in August, which generated aftershocks that destroyed historic landmarks six months afterwards.

As the reconstruction and recovery effort continues, tourists have been flocking to the town and taking photos of themselves amid the wreckage.

“Don't come to Amatrice to take selfies by the rubble, otherwise I’ll get pissed off,” Mr Pirozzi told TG1 news.

“This morning I surprised and chased away some people who were photographing themselves by the ruins.”

The mayor urged visitors to enjoy the surrounding countryside and mountains but urged them to respect the aftermath of the disaster.

Local residents and politicians took to social media to support Mr Pirozzi.

Nicola Zingaretti, president of Lazio region told people “not to turn the tragedies and works of these past months into curiosities or souvenirs”, according to a translation by The Local.

Prince Charles has been among the foreign dignitaries to visit Amatrice, where three British citizens were killed in the 6.1 magnitude earthquake.

The town is expected to take several years to rebuild as part of nationwide efforts that have already cost an estimated €23bn (£19bn).

Thousands of people made homeless by the earthquake continue to live in temporary accommodation, amid fears of further aftershocks along the active fault lying beneath.

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