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Landslides and flooding a risk for 6 mln Italians

Legambiente-Civil Protection cite lack of prevention

12 February, 19:36
Landslides and flooding a risk for 6 mln Italians (ANSA) - Rome, February 12 - Some six million people live in areas at risk of landslides and flooding in Italy, according to a report Wednesday by the environmental association Legambiente and the Italian Civil Protection Department. Recent floods resulting in massive damage and casualties following torrential rainfall in regions including Sardinia, Tuscany and Liguria have drawn greater attention to the issue. The report, Ecosistema a Rischio (Ecosystem at Risk), analyzed the measures taken to reduce hydrogeological risks by over 1,500 Italian municipalities prone to landslides and flooding. The report stated that, despite several natural disasters occurring in certain areas, "over the past decade new buildings have been put up in areas at risk for landslides and flooding" in 186 of the municipalities analyzed. In 242 administrative areas "sensitive facilities such as schools and hospitals have been built in areas at hydrogeological risk". Few municipalities hold informational activities or drills to prepare citizens for emergencies, and over 600 municipalities fall below minimum standards in prevention, information and emergency planning, says the report. Among regional capitals, Bolzano was praised for avoiding construction in high-risk areas and the organization of the local civil protection unit. Legambiente chief Vittorio Cogliati Dezza said that despite the heavy toll on Italy by floods and landslides every year, "policies to mitigate their effects have failed to spread" and resources serve more as stopgap measures to "buffer damages" than to plan how to best manage such situations.