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Day_175: Exploring Italy’s Struggle with Flooding and Innovative Solutions for a Safe Future Amidst Rising Waters.

Image Source: Unsplash‍

This article is prepared based on the recent flood to understand the flood management status in Italy.

Italy, a country renowned for its captivating aesthetics and profound cultural legacy, confronts a mounting predicament as the water levels surge, jeopardizing its architectural wonders and the routine existence of its populace. The acceleration of climate change has resulted in the nation grappling with the adverse impacts of devastating floods that cause significant damage to its scenic cities and towns. This article delves into the multifaceted challenges posed by floods in Italy, exploring the underlying complexities of the issue and highlighting creative approaches that are transforming the nation’s trajectory. Italy is making strides toward preserving its legacy for future generations by utilizing advanced technology, implementing community-based strategies, and demonstrating an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability. Embark with us on an enlightening expedition as we delve into the unyielding struggle against the advancing waters and commemorate the achievements of human innovation and resilience in the midst of hardship.

The Impact of Climate Change on Italy’s Flood Risks

The phenomenon of climate change has had a significant impact on the global environment, including Italy. The escalation of global temperatures has resulted in an augmented peril of floods within the nation, which could potentially culminate in disastrous results. The increase in temperature has been found to have a significant impact on the melting of glaciers in the Alps. This phenomenon has been observed to result in a rise in sea levels and an increase in the volume of water in rivers and lakes. The excess of water increases the susceptibility to floods, especially in the coastal regions of Italy that are situated at lower elevations.

Furthermore, the phenomenon of climate change has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather occurrences, including but not limited to heavy precipitation and storms. The occurrence of heavy rainfall can result in the inundation of drainage systems and the emergence of flash floods, which pose a significant threat to urban regions. The impact of climate change on flood risks in Italy is a critical issue that requires comprehensive understanding and innovative solutions to be tackled.

Italy has exhibited a resolute dedication to mitigating its flood hazards, despite the adversities presented by climate change. In recent decades, the nation has made noteworthy progress in comprehending the origins and consequences of floods, while also executing effective measures for prevention and reduction. The forthcoming sections will examine the historical occurrences of floods in Italy, the underlying factors that contribute to its susceptibility to flooding, and the pioneering measures that are shaping a more secure and robust future.

Historical Floods in Italy: Lessons Learned and Progress Made

Italy boasts a rich historical record of disastrous floods that have inflicted enduring damage upon its terrain and populace. In 1966, the Arno River in Florence experienced a catastrophic flood that resulted in the loss of over 100 lives and extensive damage to numerous works of art and cultural artifacts. This event has become widely recognized as one of the most infamous floods in history. The aforementioned calamitous incident acted as a stimulus for the country and instigated a revitalized emphasis on flood prevention and readiness.

Subsequent to the Florence flood, Italy encountered a multitude of consequential flood occurrences. The Piedmont region experienced a catastrophic flood in 1994, resulting in extensive devastation and loss of human lives. In 2011, Genoa experienced a flash flood that resulted in the loss of six lives and significant harm to infrastructure. The aforementioned calamitous incidents have underscored the necessity for effective flood management strategies, prompting the Italian authorities to allocate resources towards scholarly inquiry, enhancements in infrastructure, and pioneering approaches aimed at mitigating the hazards associated with flooding.

Italy has achieved significant advancements in comprehending its flood hazards and executing strategies to avert and reduce their consequences, owing to these endeavors. The nation has implemented advanced flood forecasting and early warning mechanisms to furnish prior intimation of potential flood incidents, thereby empowering communities to make adequate preparations and respond with greater efficacy. Moreover, Italy has made significant investments in enhancing its infrastructure, including the development of dams, levees, and drainage systems, with the aim of providing greater protection to regions that are susceptible to flooding. Despite notable advancements, there remains a substantial amount of work to be undertaken in order to guarantee the safety and fortitude of Italy’s populace in light of the escalating threat of flooding.

Factors Contributing to Italy’s Flood Vulnerability

Italy’s susceptibility to floods can be attributed to a combination of factors, such as its distinctive geography, urbanization, and land-use practices. The nation’s vast expanse of coastal areas and multiple waterways provide it especially vulnerable to inundation caused by both coastal storms and riverine deluges. Furthermore, the topography of Italy is distinguished by steep mountainous regions and narrow valleys, which can intensify the probability of flooding by directing water towards densely inhabited regions and enhancing the possibility of landslides.

The surge in urbanization and alterations in land use has been instrumental in enhancing Italy’s susceptibility to flooding. The expansion of urban areas results in the replacement of natural landscapes with impervious surfaces, such as buildings, roads, and parking lots, that hinder the infiltration of water into the ground. Consequently, there is a rise in surface runoff and an enhanced susceptibility to flooding in the occurrence of intense precipitation episodes. Moreover, the development of infrastructure in regions susceptible to flooding has increased the vulnerability of both individuals and resources, thereby exacerbating the potential consequences of a flood occurrence.

Italy’s susceptibility to floods can also be attributed to insufficient maintenance of flood defense infrastructure, including levees, dams, and drainage systems. Insufficient investment in maintenance and aging infrastructure can result in the failure of crucial systems during critical times, thereby endangering lives and property. It is imperative to consider these factors in order to mitigate flood hazards in Italy and establish a future that is more resilient.

Innovative Flood Management Solutions in Italy

Italy has adopted a multifaceted approach to address the intricate issues posed by flooding, which integrates conventional flood protection strategies with state-of-the-art technology and environmentally conscious methodologies. The proposed solutions endeavor to mitigate the underlying factors that contribute to susceptibility to flooding, while simultaneously advocating for ecological sustainability and adaptability.

The implementation of green infrastructure within urban environments represents a viable strategy. Green infrastructure applies to the utilization of natural or semi-natural mechanisms, such as green roofs, parks, and permeable pavements, for the purpose of effectively handling stormwater and mitigating the likelihood of flooding. The aforementioned characteristics not only facilitate the assimilation and absorption of surplus water but also result in dramatic ecological and communal advantages, including reduced atmospheric conditions, diminished urban heat island consequences, and enhanced biodiversity.

An additional inventive approach involves the adoption of flexible and adaptable flood control tactics that can adapt to fluctuating circumstances and ambiguities. The MOSE project, a system of mobile barriers, has been developed by the city of Venice to safeguard the city from the negative impacts of rising sea levels and storm surges. The barriers possess the capacity to be adjusted in accordance with the varying flood risks, thereby facilitating a flexible approach while mitigating the adverse effects on the city’s fragile ecosystem and heritage edifices.

Urban Planning and Design for Flood Resilience

Apart from pioneering flood management strategies, Italy has acknowledged the significance of urban planning and design in advancing flood resilience. The incorporation of flood risk assessments into the planning and development process can enhance the resilience of urban and rural areas to floods and facilitate their adaptation to the dynamic climate.

The identification and preservation of natural floodplains is a crucial element in urban planning strategies aimed at enhancing flood resilience. The aforementioned regions, which exhibit susceptibility to inundation in the event of heavy precipitation, play a pivotal role in affording storage and absorption capacity for surplus water. Through the preservation of these regions and the imposition of development restrictions within them, communities can mitigate their exposure to flood hazards while simultaneously safeguarding crucial ecosystem services and habitats for wildlife.

Another important consideration is the integration of flood risk management into the design of buildings and infrastructure. Potential strategies for mitigating flood risks may involve implementing techniques such as raising structures to exceed projected flood levels, utilizing materials and construction methods that are resistant to flooding, and creating adaptable spaces that can serve a variety of purposes, such as temporary flood storage or evacuation facilities. Through the integration of these design principles, communities have the ability to mitigate the potential adverse impacts and disturbances resulting from flooding while simultaneously strengthening their overall capacity for resilience.

The Role of Nature-Based Solutions in Flood Mitigation

In contemporary times, there has been a growing interest in nature-based solutions (NBS) as a practical and economical strategy for mitigating floods. The aforementioned solutions utilize natural processes and ecosystems to mitigate flood hazards through restoration, preservation, or enhancement. Instances of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) encompass the rehabilitation of wetlands and floodplains, afforestation of slopes, and establishment of green areas in urban settings.

Several NBS (Nature-Based Solutions) initiatives have been successfully executed in Italy, exhibiting encouraging outcomes. The “Life-Envi-Med” initiative, located in the Sardinia region, aims to mitigate flood hazards and foster biodiversity by rehabilitating and safeguarding coastal dunes and wetlands. An additional instance is the “Vallevecchia” initiative located in the Veneto region, with the objective of rehabilitating prior farmland to establish a natural barrier area that can assimilate floodwaters and offer significant habitat for fauna.

Through the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS), Italy is able to mitigate the potential hazards of flooding while simultaneously demonstrating its dedication to the principles of ecological sustainability and the preservation of biodiversity. Moreover, Natural Based Solutions (NBS) frequently offer supplementary advantages, such as improved water quality, heightened recreational possibilities, and enhanced climate change adaptability, rendering them a valuable constituent of Italy’s comprehensive flood management approach.

Technological Advancements in Flood Forecasting and Early Warning Systems

The utilization of technology is of utmost importance in Italy’s endeavors to effectively mitigate flood hazards and strengthen its capacity to adapt to adverse circumstances. The implementation of flood forecasting and early warning systems has played a crucial role in mitigating the adverse effects of floods on both human settlements and physical infrastructure.

The National Early Warning System for Hydrogeological and Hydraulic Risks (SINIFF) is a noteworthy instance of technological advancement, which was established through a joint venture between the National Civil Protection Department of Italy and the regional environmental protection agencies. SINIFF integrates contemporaneous data from monitoring stations with sophisticated hydrological and meteorological models to furnish prompt and precise flood prognostications and notifications. The aforementioned data empowers regional governing bodies and first responders to adopt preemptive measures aimed at safeguarding human lives and assets, including but not limited to the evacuation of inhabitants, road closures, and fortification of flood barriers.

Apart from SINIFF, various early warning systems at regional and local levels have been formulated to cater to distinct flood hazards and susceptibilities. The Piedmont region has incorporated a sophisticated flood prediction system that integrates current information from river monitoring stations, weather radar data, and hydrological models to predict potential flood occurrences. Through the utilization of technological advancements, Italy can enhance its ability to forecast and address flood hazards, leading to a reduction in the adverse impact on both human life and economic resources caused by such disasters.

Community Engagement and Collaboration in Italy’s Flood Management

Effectively addressing the complex problems related to flood management necessitates the involvement and cooperation of various entities, such as government agencies, scholars, enterprises, and nearby populations. Italy has adopted a participatory strategy for flood management, prioritizing the involvement of all pertinent stakeholders in the decision-making process and promoting a collective sense of accountability for mitigating flood risks.

An instance of community involvement in flood management is the formation of regional flood committees, which convene delegates from diverse sectors to formulate and execute strategies for managing flood risks. The aforementioned committees serve as a platform for various stakeholders to exchange information, collaborate on initiatives, and devise novel approaches to address flood-related issues at the local level.

Additionally, Italy has acknowledged the significance of public education and awareness in advancing flood resilience. The National Flood Awareness Campaign is an endeavor that seeks to disseminate knowledge and provide instruction to individuals regarding the hazards of flooding and the actions they can undertake to safeguard themselves and their localities. Italy is fostering a culture of resilience and enhancing its capacity to adapt to the evolving climate by equipping individuals and communities with knowledge and skills.

The implementation of collaborative efforts and partnerships is deemed essential in Italy’s flood management endeavors. The nation has forged collaborations with global organizations, such as the European Union, to exchange knowledge and proficiency and acquire financial resources for inundation control initiatives. Furthermore, Italy has engaged in cooperative efforts with its adjacent nations, including France and Switzerland, to tackle the issue of cross-border flood hazards and establish collective flood control strategies.

It is imperative that Italy takes measures to enhance its flood management capabilities to safeguard its future.

The current situation in Italy highlights the necessity for a holistic and cohesive strategy toward flood control and mitigation. Italy can enhance its flood risk mitigation strategies by integrating traditional flood defense measures with innovative methods such as green infrastructure, adaptive flood management, and nature-based solutions, thereby fostering ecological sustainability and resilience.

In addition, it is imperative that Italy involves all pertinent parties such as governmental entities, scholars, enterprises, and nearby communities in the process of making decisions and cultivates a mindset of fortitude and cooperation. Through collaborative efforts, Italy has the potential to construct a more secure and durable future for its populace while safeguarding its cultural legacy for future generations.

Italy’s ability to overcome challenges related to climate change and flooding is noteworthy, given its history of resilience and innovation, which serves as a source of inspiration and optimism. Italy is able to overcome these challenges and establish a more sustainable future by persisting in its investment in flood management strategies and adopting innovative ideas and technologies.

Day_167: Imagine from Disaster Damage Statistics

NIED-DIL mail magazine: 6
Imagine from disaster damage statistics
Contribution day and time: 2013/08/19

There is an index called the World Risk Index. The world risk report ranks Bangladesh as one of the high-risk countries in the world in 2019.

Indonesia and Haiti were easy to imagine, linked to the damages caused by recent earthquakes. Previously, there was an opportunity to learn from a land environment perspective about the past major disasters that struck Bangladesh, especially the large-scale cyclone disasters in 1970 and 1991. During a study session at the institution, I leaned the reported number of the casualties caused by the disasters was 500,000 and 140,000 people each. I was surprised to see the large numbers, but I was wondering why these numbers are so rough. When I looked at the table showing the breakdown numbers, I felt, “Oh!”

Building damage, human suffering, and livestock damage are listed. For example, the cyclone disaster in 1991 resulted in 1,630,543 house damage, 140,000 human suffering (dead or missing), and 584,471 livestock damage.

Yes, human suffering seemed to be a rough figure, while house damage and livestock damage were written down to one digit. And when we looked at what kind of country Bangladesh was like such as caste, religion, and livestock.

The background of the numbers, such as meaning, etc., has come into view. Regarding the number of dead and missing people in 1970, there are no accurate figures, and reports from 200,000 to 550,000 people have been reported in various fields.

Day_117 : Bangladesh-Disasters, Lands, and Statistics (2)

When there is a disaster, numbers about the damage come out, but I thought it was a very important viewpoint to think about where the numbers came out and what you can imagine from those numbers.

By the way, the web site is
https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/WorldRiskReport-2019_Online_english.pdf
Issued July 5, 2010 No. 6

Related Books and Info. for Further Understanding

sponsored link

Day_163: PAR model : Hazard and Vulnerability (3)

As discussed on Day 147, now we are investing the social vulnerability index of the district, sub-district, and village levels in Ayutthaya. To calculate the social vulnerability index, exposure, susceptibility, and capacity data are examined. Notably, the district level of the index is figured out, as shown in Figure 1, using principal component analysis.

(Please enlarge the screen to see the figure well. Darker blue means more vulnerable. The detailed factors of PCA will be explained later. )

Figure 1: Social Vulnerability Index Industrial Complex Area(SVI-ICA) Ref. 1)

Day_147: PAR model : Hazard and Vulnerability

As mentioned above, the district level of the social vulnerability index can be figured out by statistical data. However, sub-district and village levels data are challenging to collect. We also need to understand the capacity is a factor that includes not only hard but also soft countermeasures against natural disasters, as discussed before. Especially, capacity-soft is not stable by time with circumstances and could be changing from time to time. The stats data is not enough to indicate their actual capacities.

Based on the above fact, the capacity assessment is considered to fill the gaps. The capacity assessment method was based on the FDPI project experience.

The population of the target areas is indicated below:

Table 1:  The Population of the Tambons (Source: registration office 2019)

Below is the category (indicators) to measure the capacity.

Table 2: Indicators and Sub-Indicators for Capacity Assessment

The results are as indicated in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Four Sub-District Capacity Assessment 

The findings show the western side and eastern side have a big gap, as you can see in Figure 2.

Figure 3 explains the education and training part is much different among the four target sub-district. The results mean we can monitor and evaluate their progress after we provide education, training, system, or so on there.

Figure 3: Capacity Assessment Analyses

For example, each sub-indicators are examined as follows:

Figure 4: Information and Education Sub-Indicators Gaps 

The analyses (the detailed sub-indicators from IE1 to IE11) will be explained later.

Related Book and Info.

At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability and Disasters

*This is the baseline research for the SATREPS project.

Day_159: PAR model : Hazard and Vulnerability (2)

Day_147: PAR model : Hazard and Vulnerability

As discussed on Day 147, now we are investing the social vulnerability index of the district, sub-district, and village levels in Ayutthaya. To calculate the social vulnerability index, exposure, susceptibility, and capacity data are examined. Especially, the district level of the index is figured out as shown in Figure 1 using principal component analysis.

Figure 1: Social Vulnerability Index Industrial Complex Area(SVI-ICA) Ref. 1)

The district level of the social vulnerability index can be figured out by statistical data. However, sub-district and village level data should be difficult to collect such data. Based on the fact, the capacity assessment is firstly conducted to the target four sub-districts as indicated in Figure 2. The capacity assessment method was based on the FDPI project experience.

Figure 2: Four Sub-District Capacity Assessment 

The findings say the western side and eastern side have a big gap as you can see in Figure 2.

Figure 3 indicates the education and training part is much different among the four target sub-district. This means we can monitor and evaluate their progress after we provide education, training, system, or so on there.

Figure 3: Capacity Assessment Analyses

The detailed examination will be explained later.

*Exposure, Susceptibility, and Capacity data list will be shown later. The theoretical frame is base on the PAR model. The below book can be referred.


At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability and Disasters

**This is the baseline research for the SATREPS project.

Ref. 1) Tadashi Nakasu, Ruttiya Bula-or, Sutee Anatsuksomsti, Korrakot Positlimpakul (2019)Social Vulnerability Changes and Sustainable Development in the Flooded Industrial Complex Area The 2nd multidisciplinary International Conference on Humanities (ICH 2019) “Innovation and Transformation in Humanities for a Sustainable Tomorrow.” 30-31 October 2019, School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

Day_147: PAR model : Hazard and Vulnerability

Disaster researchers often refer to the PAR (Press and Release) model to understand the risk.
The PAR model was described in the book “At Risk”. This book is a kind of bible for disaster researchers. Disaster Risk is described as an overlapped area between Hazard and Vulnerability.


The Disaster risk should also consider “Exposure” and “Capacity”. The capacity has mainly two parts, Hard and Soft. In short, Capacity Hard (CH) means tangible factors and  Capacity Soft(CS) means intangible ones. For instance, infrastructure is CH and education is CS. The Disaster risk usually can be identified by the following picture. Figure 1 indicates the above.


Figure 1  Disaster Risk

Using the below equation, disaster risk would be identified.

Disaster Risk = H*E*V/ (CH+CS)

Each factor such as E (Exposure) could be identified by mainly statistic data in the target area.
To do this, the indices can be established. The data to contribute each factor should be carefully examined.

Figure 2 is the national level Index Image of Thailand.


Figure 2 Social Vulnerability

To be continued…..

Day_70 :災害対応と文化 [Japanese]

防災科学技術研究所 自然災害情報室のメールマガジン*第7号の記事を転載致します。
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先日、文化と災害対応について、面白い論文を見つけました。それは、オハイオ大学のロバート・ロス氏による論考です。1970年のかなり古い研究ですが、大変興味深く感じました。ロス氏は、自然災害の対応に影響を与える要因として地域の、宗教、技術、そして、特に自然に対する文化的価値観をあげ、それらが、その国々の制度のより中央集権型か地方分権型かという部分と相互作用するとしています。具体的には、東アジア、西欧、ラテンの国々の比較を行っています。
 例えば、東アジアの国々の災害対応は、西欧、ラテンアメリカに比べて宗教や技術の部分は相対的に低く、自然と調和することに重きをおく文化的価値観が大きく作用する。また中央集権的であまり分権化していないことも影響するとしています。一方、西欧の国々の災害対応は、ラテンアメリカや東アジアに比べて宗教的影響、技術は高く、自然を征服するという文化的価値観が働いているとし、それらが、地方分権型システムに作用するとしています。最後に、ラテンアメリカの国々の災害対応は、宗教的影響及び技術は中間とし、自然に対しては服従する文化的価値観が働くとし、比較的中央集権型システムと相互作用するとしています。
 かなり大雑把な分析で、現在に当てはまらないと思われる部分も多くありますが、解釈の仕方によっては、いろいろと考えるヒントを与えてくれます。例えば、2005年に起こったハリケーン・カトリーナ災害では、政府の対応が、うまくいかなかったと批判されていますが逆に、そのことが、コミュニティの災害対応の差を際立たせた側面があるようです。特に、ニューオリンズのアジア系コミュニティ、ラテンアメリカ系コミュニティ、そして西欧系コミュニティの災害前後の災害対応の違いがはっきりしたといわれています。
 コミュニティ単位で、ロス氏の考察を当てはめて考えると興味深いものがあります。
*防災科学技術研究所 自然災害情報室メールマガジン
自然災害情報室