ILLICA, Italy — The Italian government already has vowed to rebuild the picturesque medieval town of Amatrice after Wednesday's earthquake leveled many of the homes of its 3,000 residents. But the tiny hamlets nearby like Illica may not be so lucky.
The long valley of destruction includes more than two dozen villages with 200 or fewer residents, and they may never fully recover.
“I don’t know what will happen to a place like Illica,” said Stefano Carosi, a civil protection official working near the village, nine miles north of Amatrice. It is home to just four families, with a total population of less than 50. One house collapsed, killing two people, and most of the other buildings suffered visible structural damage from the quake.
“Some of these villages may become abandoned, just because the effort to rebuild them and make them safe will be higher than it’s worth,” Carosi said.
Government officials said Thursday they were focused on rescuing survivors and making damaged buildings secure, not on the long-term viability of the tiny hamlets.
Still, some Illica residents vowed they would stay.
“I came back to Illica 20 years ago after living 21 years in the U.S., in Indiana,” said Franco Micozzi, 54, who grew up near Illica. “The earthquake knocked me out of my bed and onto the floor, but it won’t make me leave my home.”