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Stop new buildings, use funds for protection, says Gabrielli

Civil protection chief urges greater efforts to handle disasters

10 February, 19:14
Stop new buildings, use funds for protection, says Gabrielli (ANSA) - Rome, February 10 - A moratorium on government construction for 10 years could free up funds to invest instead in measures to protect cities and countryside areas from severe weather events, Franco Gabrielli, the head of civil protection department said Monday.

By deciding to "invest everything you have in the safety of the territory," Italy would be far better protected from events such as the severe rainfall that is flooding parts of Italy, said Gabrielli, who spoke outside a meeting of mayors.

Italy also has a responsibility to safeguard "the unique heritage of our county," which is acknowledged worldwide, as well as thousands of lives that could be put in danger if the country does not spend more on protection.

Gabrielli - who has been involved in civil protection issues ranging from earthquakes, such as the disaster that killed 297 people in April 2009 in L'Aquila, to the major fires that threatened Sardinia in summer 2013 - said the need for civil protection resources will only continue to rise.