POMPEII TO GET EMERGENCY RELIEF
TO REPAIR RAIN-DAMAGED VILLAS
POMPEII will receive emergency funding from the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO to repair damage at Pompeii caused by torrential rains over the past year, according to ANSA, Italy's news wire agency.
UNESCO said it would work with Italy over the next nine months to rebuild villas and other parts of the famed Roman site that have collapsed over the last year.
Under the deal, UNESCO will provide expert advice to the Italian government on how to upgrade conservation.
UNESCO's assistant director-general for culture, Francesco Bandarin, said the project would be a "complex endeavour".
Campania Governor Francesco Caruso told ANSA that a second deal had been signed with local business groups to safeguard the area outside Pompeii's walls.
Last November there was a collapse in the House of the Gladiators which drew criticism from UNESCO and the European Union (EU).
It was followed soon after by a collapse at the famed House of the Moralist, spurring further criticism from international conservation groups.
Last month there were another three minor cave-ins, including one at the House of Diomedes, after a fresh bout of heavy rain.
There was also an outcry when an eight-square metre section of a wall fell near the Nola Gate.
"Everything needs to be checked, otherwise there will be a series of more collapses," site officials said.
The EU subsequently pledged to step up supervision of Pompeii and provide more funds in future to protect one of Italy's most popular historic sites.
Pompeii was destroyed when a volcanic eruption from nearby Mount Vesuvius buried the city in ash in 79 AD and it now attracts more than two million visitors a year.
Critics have complained for years about looting, stray dogs, structural decay and poor management at Pompeii.