[...] On the evening of 26 May, Under Secretary Guido Bertolaso, head of Italy's civil protection agency, will give a presentation entitled "Natural catastrophes: The situation in Italy following the earthquake in Abruzzo" to an audience of distinguished guests at the residence of German Ambassador Michael Steiner. Bertolaso has earned numerous accolades in recognition of his experience in coordinating emergency relief measures and humanitarian aid. He has handled a wide variety of crises and emergencies in Italy and abroad with great professionalism and expertise. Bertolaso was appointed Under Secretary in the Prime Minister’s office to bring an end to the waste crisis in Naples. On 6 April 2009, he was put in charge of emergency measures relating to the earthquake in Abruzzo. He is also responsible for organising the G8 summit, originally to have been held on La Maddalena and now transferred to L’Aquila as a gesture of solidarity.
Ambassador Steiner, who has met Bertolaso on a number of occasions since the earthquake to discuss German earthquake aid initiated by him for the people of Onna, Abruzzo, is impressed by the professionalism and speed of Italy’s civil protection under Bertolaso’s direction. "More than 300 people lost their lives in the disastrous earthquake that occurred on the night of 6 April, whilst over 12,000 were injured and approximately 66,000 left homeless. Faced with such a difficult situation, the Italian civil protection agency coordinated emergency aid for the earthquake victims from the outset in exemplary fashion. The catastrophe will have severe consequences not only for the individuals involved but also for the region and the Italian economy." The Ambassador noted that it was important to undertake a thorough analysis of the natural catastrophe risks and apply specific loss-reduction measures.