Politics of civil protection in Italy


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Politics of civil protection in Italy

  1. 1. David Alexander CESPRO - University of Florence Civil Protection Amid Disasters and Scandals
  2. 2. Disclaimer: I started work on environmental and emergency-related problems in Italy on the 19th of September 1974. In 36 years I have failed to change things for the better. Before giving up, I would like to ask some awkward questions and provide some even more awkward answers.
  3. 3. Analysis • registered • archived • forgotten • ignored Vulnerability maintained. - • utilised • adopted • learned Disaster risk reduced + Lessons Past events The process of disaster risk reduction (DRR)
  4. 4. What is orthodox reasoning in Italian civil protection ?
  5. 5. Caveat lector: this publication is based on self-assessment.
  6. 6. The orthodox approach: emergency response begins at the local level. The Italian approach: in L'Aquila local administration was swept aside and still remains paralysed.
  7. 7. The Italian approach: overwhelming force, regardless of cost. The orthodox approach: response should be proportional to the size of the emergency.
  8. 8. The Italian approach: there isn't one. The orthodox approach: emergencies need an incident command structure.
  9. 9. The Italian approach: either supply it all from Rome or abandon the local forces to their own devices. The orthodox approach: local self-sufficiency and autonomous decision making must be encouraged.
  10. 10. The Italian approach: mind-boggling sums of money have been spent on transitional settlement* and so far very few funds have been allotted to reconstruction. average *€3,750 per sq. metre, €280,000 per apartment (40 or 60 sq m) The orthodox approach: transitional settle- ment should not impede reconstruction.
  11. 11. The Italian approach: in L'Aquila no thought whatsoever was given to this problem and the result is a high incidence of socio-psychological pathologies among the survivors. The orthodox approach: in transitional settlement the social fabric should be preserved.
  12. 12. The Italian approach: the guidelines are incomplete and out of date, and the training has been foisted onto the regional governments without providing any harmonising criteria. The orthodox approach: guidelines, standards and norms should be issued to ensure integrated disaster response and training.
  13. 13. The Italian approach: in less than a decade 600 ordinances have authorised the expenditure of more than €10 billion, some of that on projects that had nothing to do with emergencies and were not really useful at all. The orthodox approach: emergency measures should be used when normal measures cannot be.
  14. 14. The Italian approach: disasters open a Pandora's box of bad practice. The orthodox approach: disasters lead to improvements in safety and security.
  15. 15. The Italian approach: three municipalities out of 8,104 have taken this to heart. The UN's Making Cities Resilient initiative has only one Italian signatory - Venice. The orthodox approach: disaster risk reduction (DRR) is a comprehensive process of creating resilience.
  16. 16. What if there were another Irpinia 1980?
  17. 17. Conclusions
  18. 18. • Italian civil protection is democratic and well-organised at the local level. • Much is known about hazards in Italy - so it ought to be, as they are the most dangerous in Europe. • Despite the plethora of courses (1000 in Lombardy region alone), there is little effective training in emergency planning and management and no adequate standards exist. Conclusions
  19. 19. • Disasters are excellent opportunities for corruption and theft of public money, largely because surveillance of, and controls upon, expenditure are relaxed. • The concept of personal responsibility is not part of the civil protection culture. • Italian civil protection responds to a logic of political short-termism. Conclusions
  20. 20. Earth- quake Political response National Regional Local Permanent reconstruction Bad (functional problems) Good (functionality maintained) Elections Public image of politicians Amelioration Political impact on reconstruction Suff- ering Reco- veryTransitional housing and settlement
  21. 21. 2009->: Neoliberalism or more assistentialism? Vote garnering versus economic stringency. 1908: Liberalism - the state is not a big source of disaster relief 1980: Assistentialism - the state is a major source of largesse.
  22. 22. d.alexander@alice.it protezione-civile-italia.blogspot.com emergency-planning.blogspot.com www.slideshare.com/dealexander