Civil protection minister Masumeci says Italy needs to shore up against natural disasters

Natural disasters – Protecting Italy must be a priority


Shoring up Italy against natural disasters must be a priority for the government, Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci said today. In a briefing to parliament on last week’s flooding and landslide emergency in Emilia Romagna he said a national plan is needed.

Musumeci said a national plan is needed that is “designed according to a joint strategy, which has so far been lacking”.

“We must make securing the national territory the priority of the political government agenda of this executive and all its ramifications across the territory,” said Musumeci.

Italy, he added, “is a nation more inclined to rebuild than to prevent. Events like the one in Emilia Romagna cannot be predicted, but the disastrous effects they produce can be reduced”.

The minister added the government is also looking at how to simplify procedures for reconstruction.

Protecting against natural disasters

In shoring up the country, Musumeci said he is not only referring to flooding and hydrogeological instability, but also to earthquake risk.

“How many strategic infrastructure works could withstand a certain level of seismic stress? How many municipalities in Italy could be reached by emergency vehicles in the event of an earthquake?” he asked.

These, he continued, are important questions “in consideration of the fact that that more than half of the national territory falls within a seismic zone and almost 94% is at risk of landslides or flooding or hydrogeological instability”.

Musumeci told parliament in Emilia Romagna a total of 23 rivers flooded as a result of the torrential rainfall. 500 roads had to be closed due to flooding or landslides, and 23,000 people were evacuated.

Some 62 roads remained closed, including many minor ones, he added.

Current situation in Emilia-Romagna

The minister said regular transit is expected to resume in the next few hours. Also, railway services should be almost fully operational by early June.

Meanwhile, he said some 54,000 people are still without power, “a few tens of thousands” without mobile phone service and 14,600 users without a fixed-line service.

It is not possible to restore services for the time being due to persistent flooding, he told parliament. He added “it is hoped that in the coming days everything will return to normal”.

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