A remote mountain town in Italy has witnessed the birth of its first baby in 28 years. The baby, a boy, was born in a hospital in the nearby Italian city of Turin on 22 January.
With the arrival of baby Pablo, the number of residents in Ostana, which is located about 695km north-west of Italian capital Rome, has now become 85, local media reported. Pablo gives hope to the city whose population plunged after World War Two.
"It's great to finally have someone born here and it shows that our efforts to reverse population decline are slowly working," the city mayor Giacomo Lombardo told The Local. He said that Ostana was a flourishing town with over 1,000 residents about 100 years ago but the population gradually fell after the war.
"The nadir was reached in the 1980s when the population hit an all-time low of just five permanent residents," Lombardo said, adding that only 41 inhabitants stay in the city all year round.
"In the period between 1946 and 1955, 70 children were born in the city. They went down to 24 between 1956 and 1955," he was quoted as saying by LaStampa. "The real decline began in 1975 with 17 babies between 1976 and 1987," Lombardo added. He said that the "arrival of Pablo is a dream come true after all this time."
The mayor has been keen on bringing growth back to Ostana that is battling against depopulation. "Today we have the shelter, two restaurants, a farm, a shop and a bar," he said.
A film school was opened in the city in 2013 that attracts dozens of students from all over Italy every year. Restoration of several villages has been completed to attract visitors and a university is in the making, Lombardo added.