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Italian government tries to remedy hydrogeological instability following tragedy

After eight people lost their lives in a landslide that destroyed a village on the island of Ischia, the government is announcing major measures to remedy hydrogeological instability.

The government will soon finance 139 interventions against hydrogeological instability, at a cost of €350 million to be borne by the Environment and Energy Security Ministry, Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said on Wednesday during question time at the Chamber of Deputies.

The government’s intervention comes after a slope of Mount Epomeo on the island of Ischia, in Campania, collapsed between 25 and 26 November. The debris flowed down to the sea, destroying everything it encountered: roads, cars, and houses. At least eight victims have been found.

The main cause of the destruction was heavy rainfall, but, for some time now, the subsidence of the ground that was built on was known but the danger of this combination was never publicly announced. In the last sixteen years, there have been three tragic events triggered by climatic events, all caused by the porous and fine soil of lava origin.

“49% of the island’s territory (Ischia) is classified as a high and very high danger for landslides in the Hydrogeological Structure Plans and there are over 13,000 inhabitants living in the areas with the highest danger for landslides,” the minister explained.

In 2010, €3.1 million had already been allocated for “securing the coastal area” and for “reducing erosion and stabilising the slopes” of the town where the landslide occurred, but these interventions are still in the planning stage.

“In the budget bill, an article was included that provided for the establishment of a special fund to combat soil consumption, in order to allow the planning and funding of interventions for the renaturalisation of degraded or deteriorating soils in urban and peri-urban areas, with a total endowment of €160 million,” Fratin added.

In 2018, Giuseppe Conte’s government approved a decree that allowed access to public funds to rebuild houses destroyed by the 2017 earthquake in Ischia, including those resulting from building abuse. 28,000 official requests for building amnesty were filed by the island.

Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel spends her holidays in Ischia. “I know the island well, I am fond of it and its people. I mourn with them for the victims and my thoughts go out to their families, to all those affected by the disaster and to the rescuers,” she said.

(Federica Pascale | EURACTIV.it)



Source: Eura Ctiv

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