Italy has approved urgent work in the ancient city of Pompeii to repair walls, which collapsed after heavy rain, and authorised spending two million euro on maintenance. The decision was made in Rome on Tuesday after a hastily convened meeting of the culture minister with archaeological experts.
On Sunday stones from an arch and a stretch of wall collapsed in the popular tourist site. The wall of an ancient shop was also the victim of collapse on Monday, following heavy rain in the region.
The decay has prompted calls for action from the European Union and the United Nations. A local official says the big problem in Pompeii is the lack of personnel.
"Up to 10-15 years ago, we had 80 people working here, not only to restructure possible collapses, just as we have seen in the past few days, but also to foresee them and make preventive measures. Now this isn’t possible anymore, there are only five people doing that job, and we need to rely on external projects to finance our works." Luigi Malnati, Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage said.
Similar collapses in recent years have prompted an infusion of funds, but only a fraction of the 105 million Euro earmarked for the "Great Pompeii" rehabilitation project has been spent.
Italy’s culture ministry says priority will also be given to work to reduce flood risk in unexcavated areas.
Every year, around 2.5 million tourists visit Pompeii, which was destroyed when the nearby volcano erupted nearly 2000 years ago.