A group of 70 refugees living in Italy have been donating their meagre €2 per day cash allowance to help survivors of the recent earthquake in the southern region of Cantabria. The 6.2 magnitude quake destroyed hundreds of homes, and in some areas the death toll has been tragically high. For many refugees, this was their first terrifying experience of an earthquake. A 20-year-old asylum seeker named Abdullai describes his feelings this way: “At first I was very scared, but then I understood that they needed as much help as possible, and I wanted to do my part.” He was not alone.
Many asylum seekers are working with Italy’s Civil Protection Department to help clear areas designated for emergency accommodation. They are also sharing their housing facilities with earthquake survivors. Letizia Bellabarba, a representative of the charity that hosts asylum seekers, explained that helping out was the idea of the refugees themselves. “They said that Italy had welcomed and helped them, and it was now their turn to help the Italians.”