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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 11
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 2883–2890, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Special issue: Flood resilient communities – managing the consequences...

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 2883–2890, 2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 19 Nov 2013

Research article | 19 Nov 2013

Flood risk management in Italy: challenges and opportunities for the implementation of the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC)

J. Mysiak1,2, F. Testella2, M. Bonaiuto3, G. Carrus3, S. De Dominicis3, U. Ganucci Cancellieri3, K. Firus4, and P. Grifoni5 J. Mysiak et al.
  • 1Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Italy
  • 2Euro-Mediterranean Center for Climate Change, Venice, Italy
  • 3Dipartimento di Psicologia dei Processi di Sviluppo e Socializzazione, Sapienza Università di Roma, Rome, Italy
  • 4T6 Società Cooperativa, Rome, Italy
  • 5CNR – Istituto di Ricerche sulla Popolazione e le Politiche Sociali, Rome, Italy

Abstract. Italy's recent history is punctuated with devastating flood disasters claiming high death toll and causing vast but underestimated economic, social and environmental damage. The responses to major flood and landslide disasters such as the Polesine (1951), Vajont (1963), Firenze (1966), Valtelina (1987), Piedmont (1994), Crotone (1996), Sarno (1998), Soverato (2000), and Piedmont (2000) events have contributed to shaping the country's flood risk governance. Insufficient resources and capacity, slow implementation of the (at that time) novel risk prevention and protection framework, embodied in the law 183/89 of 18 May 1989, increased the reliance on the response and recovery operations of the civil protection. As a result, the importance of the Civil Protection Mechanism and the relative body of norms and regulation developed rapidly in the 1990s. In the aftermath of the Sarno (1998) and Soverato (2000) disasters, the Department for Civil Protection (DCP) installed a network of advanced early warning and alerting centres, the cornerstones of Italy's preparedness for natural hazards and a best practice worth following. However, deep convective clouds, not uncommon in Italy, producing intense rainfall and rapidly developing localised floods still lead to considerable damage and loss of life that can only be reduced by stepping up the risk prevention efforts. The implementation of the EU Floods Directive (2007/60/EC) provides an opportunity to revise the model of flood risk governance and confront the shortcomings encountered during more than 20 yr of organised flood risk management. This brief communication offers joint recommendations towards this end from three projects funded by the 2nd CRUE ERA-NET ( Funding Initiative: FREEMAN, IMRA and URFlood.

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