Zamberletti e la gestione del post-terremoto del Friuli (1976-1977)

Di recente è scomparso Giuseppe Zamberletti, considerato con buona ragione il padre della Protezione Civile in Italia. Vogliamo ricordarlo qui pubblicando un estratto da un suo articolo, pubblicato in inglese su un numero speciale del Bollettino di Geofisica Teorica e Applicata (Pdf).

È interessante leggere questo bilancio dell’intervento dello Stato relativo ai terremoti del 1976 in Friuli, scritto dal principale protagonista. In particolare, colpisce la descrizione della situazione alla data finale dell’intervento diretto dello Stato, meno di un anno dopo il primo terremoto: il confronto con gli eventi recenti è impietoso.

Earthquake risk education: a partial statement for Italy (interview with Romano Camassi)

Translated by Google Translate, revised

Romano Camassi is a researcher at INGV (Department of Bologna). ‘Seismologist’ of eccentric training (a degree in Pedagogy, a thesis in modern history), engaged for more than three decades in historical research on earthquakes. Co-author of the main catalogues of Italian earthquakes. For over 15 years he has dedicated a part of his work to seismic risk education projects.

After every destructive earthquake, in Italy as elsewhere, the need to improve the earthquake education the seismic risk education, or even to introduce it at various levels, is recalled. It is true that, albeit not generally, there have been and there are several initiatives in this area. Can you give us an idea, and maybe refer to some publication that summarizes them?
It is true: after every major earthquake, everyone invokes more information, preparation, risk education in schools, information campaigns, exercises. More: it is frequent that at every change of minister (or undersecretary), or just before its decadence, announcements are made, protocols are signed, even, which then have no real following: of this there are very recent examples. The initiatives that in the last decades have set themselves, in various ways, the objective of education to seismic risk have been innumerable, impossible to make an inventory (nor is there a publication that has done so). I refer to initiatives of scientific dissemination on the earthquake, training for schools, awareness of the population. Many local administrations – individual municipalities, provinces, regions – sometimes in a totally impromptu manner, other times in a more organized and continuous way, have promoted initiatives of this kind. The same have been done by individual civil protection associations, or national orders: I remember a beautiful pamphlet of the National Council of Architects, distributed in September 2001 by “Famiglia Cristiana”, or even recent initiatives by geologists and engineers. Could not mention them all.
The problem is that, in many cases (not all), they were short-term initiatives, which often responded to temporary needs, in which the visibility of the promoter was to prevail. Everything is useful, many accomplished things have certainly been of good quality: but the problem is that of sensitization, of risk education, is an essential, fundamental part of that fundamental task of the National Service of Civil Protection summarized by the term, which seems to me almost worn out, of prevention. How can there be prevention, that is to say precise choices, actions that reduce the risk, without people being aware, informed, ‘activated’ to make those choices, every day? And I do not speak so much about the correct behaviours in an emergency, on which we often stop to stop the attention, but of the choices that reduce immediately or in time the vulnerability (not structural and structural) of the environment in which we live.

Can you remember some of the initiatives?
You know well, because you had a very specific role in this, that these issues were dealt with very thoroughly a long time ago, even before the earthquake of Irpinia, almost forty years ago. The Geodynamic Finalized Project (PFG) of the CNR, in the late ’70s, had a Working Group called “Mass Education” (of which you were coordinator), then became “Education and Information” (part of the National Group for Defence from the Earthquakes), and a lot of work in those years was done. The merit of that experience is to have imagined an overall approach, in a national perspective, trying to define contents and educational strategies: I refer to the “Earthquake Teaching System”, interactive and, then, technologically advanced, to the cartoon “Earthquake“, designed by B. Bozzetto and to the survey “What do you think of the earthquake?” on the imaginary and knowledge of Italians about seismic phenomena. All these things today seem futuristic. That season is over, some things are lost, in many cases we have come back, far behind. What was for some time the training and information office of the National Seismic Service for a few years has produced communication materials (also very ambitious, ‘challenging’, in many ways), then that season has run out.

And more recently? Who promotes initiatives in the sector?
Among the more recent things, more general, I think it is right to mention the “national day of safety in schools”, promoted ten years ago by Active Citizenship and formally established by MIUR 2015, and the more specific exhibition promoted by the DPC “Earthquakes of Italy”, set up from 2007 onwards in many Italian locations. In the past few weeks two initiatives of a different nature have had a consistent media coverage. The ambitious “First National Day on Seismic Prevention”, promoted by the National Council of Engineers, National Council of Architects and Inarcassa Foundation, supported by a demanding press campaign (several advertising pages in the main national newspapers). Meritorious initiative, no doubt (even if to qualify as “first national day” is at least not respectful of at least another initiative in progress for several years) and we will see what results will give in a few years. But I also think of the initiative “at school with the geologist”, promoted by the National Council of Geologists, which in launching the campaign on November 16th would bring a geologist to 600 Italian schools. In the program of the day, as presented on the web, several things appear questionable: how can you think significant frontal meetings of a ‘morning’ are not included in the Training Offer Plan, with 200-250 students in a lecture hall or a gym, with a geologist, a seismologist or an engineer or more? Entering a school, meeting and talking with girls and children, girls and boys is a very delicate thing, to shake your wrists. How do you think that everyone can do it without a minimum of specific and thorough preparation? We could discuss these various initiatives for a long time, on which I personally have a very critical opinion. But the main problem with these and other initiatives is that they do not respond to a long-term work plan involving the National Civil Protection Service as a whole, which, incidentally, also includes MIUR. It is not enough to qualify them as such the “collaboration” or the “sponsorship” of a ministry or the DPC.

You have been collaborating for a long time in national and local initiatives on the subject. For example, can you talk about EDURISK?
For the last fifteen years, I have spent part of my work on two communication and risk education projects: the first was EDURISK, a real educational project for risk education for schools. EDURISK was conceived and launched in 2002 by the purpose of a group of researchers of various disciplines (geophysics, geology, historical seismology, seismic engineering, emergency psychology, etc.) to voluntarily dedicate a part of their time to the dissemination of culture science and education at risk in schools. A need for social commitment, to simplify. This is because we were aware of the strong social impact of our research, largely aimed at defining seismic and volcanic hazard and therefore directly at reducing seismic and volcanic risk. We were inspired from the beginning, and we explicitly stated it, precisely to the experiences of the PFG that I mentioned earlier. From the beginning, we chose the school as the main interlocutor for two reasons: on the one hand, because it is the most direct and direct link with society as a whole; on the other, because the goal of the project is to reduce the risk, not passively. It is therefore a goal of social change, which necessarily passes through the younger part of society, starting with children. Simplifying to the extreme: the effects of the next strong earthquake are largely determined by the choices that each of us makes (or non-makes) today and will do, from today onwards. Choosing where and how to live, how to build our houses, how to renovate them, respecting or not the rules, etc. We started from the design and experimentation of educational material, communication tools, with the decisive help of an educational planning staff, pedagogics, authors and illustrators of children’s books, we have created a series of texts for different age groups, from kindergarten at secondary school, accompanied by teaching guides for teachers. The series of EDURISK materials, available digitally in the ‘materials’ section of the site, is full-bodied. And I like to remember often that not a line of those texts was written by us but by authors and illustrators of children’s books, among which I like to remember the late Roberto Luciani, a giant. We are researchers, maybe good seismologists, geologists, etc.; but writing for children and young people is another thing, each one his job. It is a series that has been a great success; the main titles have had about twenty reissues or reprints, and versions in different languages are available. Then, for a long time, we have promoted educational projects around Italy that, starting from teacher training, have engaged thousands of teachers (about ten thousand in total) and students (about one hundred thousand) for one or more school years. Numbers very high, but irrelevant in absolute terms. The initial experimentation, carried out in Calabria, Romagna and Friuli, and the work at L’Aquila in 2008, before the earthquake, are fundamental steps of this path.
After the first years, the activity has progressively evolved towards an increasingly informal and interactive approach, with laboratory activities. Together with a cooperative specialized in the use of educational gaming (ConUnGioco) we have created an active path (Tutti Giù per Terra) that since 2007 and for many years has ‘travelled’ together with the exhibition “Earthquakes of Italy”. From a re-elaboration of this active path, realized directly by some classes of the ‘media’ school of L’Aquila, the docufiction “Do not call me earthquake” was born. In several projects, the work developed in schools has become an instrument of communication to the outside world, parents and citizens. In the form of interactive displays, events, etc. After the Emilian earthquakes of 2012, the work with the schools of Crevalcore, San Felice sul Panaro, Sant’Agostino and Ferrara was transformed in 2013 into a widespread exhibition (“Let’s do it! A fantastic reconstruction“), with installations in over 200 spaces public and private sectors in countries and hamlets. The same happened in Ascoli Piceno after the earthquakes of 2016, in the Appennino forlivese for the anniversary of the centenary of the earthquake of 1918 and is under construction in the Vesuvian and Flegrea area, on seismic and volcanic risk. The parable summarily summarized (impossible to represent everything) leads to a drastic conclusion: we have completely abandoned the frontal approach, it is absolutely useless, neither for adults nor for children. It is not the level of scientific culture that, by itself, changes people’s choices (there would not be many smokers), people are not empty ‘containers’ to fill. The reason at the bottom is simple: if the goal is sensitization, awareness of risk and an active role in its reduction, this can only happen with the deep emotional involvement of people, through a path of discovery that we can simply accompany.

In the last few years you have dealt with “Io Non Rischio” (I do not take risks), an initiative with a fairly imperative title ….
The title is imperative, yes. But it is simply the way we have found to declare a commitment, a choice that each of us decides to make. “I do not take risks” therefore means “I decide not to risk” and I do something immediately to reduce the risk.
Io Non Rischio is a national communication campaign. A street campaign, based on the model of cancer awareness campaigns: that is, setting up information points for citizens on a day defined throughout the country. The differences from the other campaigns are numerous: we do not raise funds, we only do an informative job. The most original feature of the campaign is that this work is entrusted to volunteers of civil protection associations, who have followed a specific training path in cascade: volunteers who meet their fellow citizens, speak with them (perhaps in the same dialect), a territory who know well why they live there. Precisely for this reason the communication work does not end in that weekend (usually in mid-October), but can continue in various ways throughout the year. The campaign was born in 2011, in an experimental form, and has grown exponentially in the following years, involving several thousand volunteers, a total of a thousand associations. The original ambition was to arrive in all about 8,000 Italian municipalities. We have not yet succeeded, also because we have spent a lot of energy to develop new risks (tsunami and flood) and paid a little for a growth that is perhaps too rapid. And for many other reasons.
On the other hand after 8 years of work, in addition to the many hundreds of thousands of citizens met in the squares, the campaign has become a reference point for many municipalities, which after the initial mistrust found it natural to take to the streets to present the Emergency Plan Comunale. The Regions, initially wary, now begin to believe (not all of course, do not exaggerate …) and to commit themselves to make it their own tool to raise awareness on the risks from earthquake, tidal wave and flood. The campaign to survive and grow must necessarily renew itself, deepen its motivations and raise the level of preparation of all its actors, transforming itself from an annual appointment to a widespread campaign, throughout the year. The main advantage of this campaign is, undoubtedly, that for the first time it is truly a national initiative, not only in ambitions.

What are the essential aspects on which your initiatives are aimed?
I believe that the two initiatives have common characteristics, and not by chance: the Io Non Rischio campaign was born from an idea – moreover in its initial vague and ingenuous formulation – of Anpas, which then gathered the support of the Department of Civil Protection , INGV and Reluis (and subsequently CIMA). However, a fundamental contribution was made to the experience of EDURISK, whose design staff materially packaged the campaign’s communication materials and devised a series of tools for both volunteer training and street communication. In common the two initiatives have risk education, awareness and activation of people for its reduction, as a clear goal. Both initiatives pay a lot of attention to paths of knowledge of the environment in which we live and its historical dimension. One of the fundamental elements of the preparation of the square is the “time line”, a visual representation of the seismic history of the location where the event takes place, a time line whose realization required that the volunteers question the characteristics of the seismicity of the ‘area, did a real research (which in some cases has unearthed unpublished information), then sharing the outcomes with their citizens.
It is a seemingly simple process, this one, but it describes well what causes an information content – which in itself could well be transmitted through the media (or via road signs, why not?) – become ‘knowledge’. To say it with a great, Ben Wisner3 information becomes knowledge only when it is placed in a context that gives it meaning and some relevance to the action. In this sense, knowledge is part of a system that guides the understanding of reality and human action on that reality. Here: we return exactly there, to the path of discovery, which generates awareness and stimulates to act to change reality.

Do you have the possibility to monitor the effectiveness of the interventions?
We have always done this in the EDURISK project, with simple tools (satisfaction and evaluation questionnaires), but always on a limited scale. As for Io Non Rischio it is not a simple matter, for an initiative that explicitly has a national character, involves many (in these years about ten thousand volunteers), comes into contact with many people (our estimates exceed one million contacts in the square) . Well, to accurately assess the long-term impact of the campaign, that is to say if it has left traces in people’s risk awareness and has produced some risk reduction choices, has produced social change, would require very complex investigative tools and expensive (many tens of thousands of euros), which are not within our reach, unfortunately. Paper or online questionnaires that we have used and use are not enough, or telephone surveys carried out with the call centre of the DPC (which we have done), because they do not reach a statistically significant sample.
An instrument that we used, on the one hand, to calibrate the educational interventions, and on the other to understand if any initiative (ours or others) had left any trace, it is a survey on risk perception – “Earthquake Test“, through an online questionnaire, which then collected data that are not strictly significant from a statistical point of view4. On a non-representative sample, then, among many things, it emerged that those involved in a real educational project like EDURISK have a much higher level of awareness than the average, which is obvious.

The most important level is obviously the school level. What does not work and what should/could be done?
What is not working? The school has been in difficulty for a long time, but I do not have enough elements to make a diagnosis nor to propose solutions. In these years, I have met thousands of teachers, I have seen so much effort, dedication, sometimes glimpses of authentic passion, in the most unthinkable contexts (in the towns of the Vesuvian and Flegrea area, in Benevento, Calabria, Emilia, in the Upper Apennines of Forlì). In general, the teachers are submerged by the most disparate projects, with little possibility of selecting and find themselves having to hold up for themselves an educational system tossed between continuous reforms and counter-reforms, whose meaning is not understood. Obviously, there is no “project”: the MIUR is substantially absent on these issues and the Regional (and provincial) School Offices are now reduced to administrative branches.
I do not delude myself about this. Small initiatives in the local area, linked to particular motivations or circumstances, can still give very interesting, sometimes extraordinary results, but I see no glimpse for something that has adequate dimensions to leave traces on a national scale. Will it change anything in the future? I can and can hope for it, but miracles depend only on us.

Speaking of schools, from San Giuliano di Puglia onwards the attention to the security / insecurity of the same has increased. How can this attention be combined with this need for safety with the need to increase awareness of seismic risk?
Very difficult to answer. On the one hand, the data (if any) photograph a merciless situation, to the point of suggesting that it is impossible to solve it or even to improve it. The ability, completely political, to imagine a ten-year path at least is completely lacking. On the other hand, on this aspect, one falls from the clouds. There are technical aspects, difficult to manage (which means precisely the numerical coefficient of seismic vulnerability), the limits of available resources, the difficulty in setting priorities and the times required for the interventions. This is why the ambitions of many presumed initiatives to make school patrimony secure, which often remain simple intentions, clash. I can only put parenthesis, for a moment, the underlying pessimism, to hope that the work of sensitization that was made by the Io Non Rischio campaign in these 8 years (and also by EDURISK in its more than 15 years of life) has made a significant number of people aware that this is a top priority, and that only by the direct commitment of people, ordinary citizens, we can think of changing something.

The other vital sector is represented by the media, which spread all kinds of news often without any filter. What can be done in this sense?
You return to the data journalism, this is the solution. Someone did and is doing it: the work started by Wired and continued by data-journalism initiatives [here and here]. But the same work, serious, thorough, constant, should be done in the local area, without seeking the scandal. The media often take shortcuts, going to chase the single scandal, the ‘case’, without however often doing on that a really thorough job, or being ‘bummed’ by individual ‘experts’. The story of the school of San Giuliano di Puglia presented and presents many topics (failure to update the seismic classification, the interventions that have worsened the vulnerability, the role of the Municipality, the linear behavior of the newly assigned School Manager, the trial that is followed), but I can not forget a couple of paradoxical events much more recent, which involved schools in central Italy. The first is that of the Liceo Cotugno in L’Aquila, which has been closed for a couple of months between 2016 and 2017, because the vulnerability index was much lower than “1” (although it responded very well to the earthquake of 6 April 2009). The other is that of the 100 mayors who closed the schools after 18 January 2017, demanding (from whom? From the DPC ?, from the “State”?) Assessments of vulnerability [discovered for them recently, until then had thought only in terms of “usability”, and this is a step forward, no doubt]. It is a pity that the vulnerability checks should have made them, the mayors, by the end of 2008 (Article 2, paragraph 3 of the OPCM 3274/2003: “it is obligatory to proceed with the verification, to be carried out by the respective owners, public and private, both of the buildings of strategic interest and of the infrastructural works whose functionality during the seismic events assumes fundamental importance for the purposes of civil protection, both of the buildings and of the infrastructural works that can assume relevance in relation to the consequences of a possible collapse ” )! Then the deadlines were extended (to 2010 and then to 2013, in the best tradition), and everyone forgot about it. And there were also the resources to make those checks. And I can not understand why – it is an example that I often do, perhaps instrumentally – the municipalities of the Upper Rhine Valley, in the Appennino bolognese (my house) the checks have made them, have done or even started the adjustment or improvement interventions seismic, and that hundreds of municipalities of Abruzzo, Marche, Umbria and Lazio, areas much more dangerous seismically, they did not (if they did not), starting the day after. It’s been ten years since that first deadline.
Here, even on such events the media should work, not simply feed the useless, plaintive, irresponsible to claim the intervention of the state, as if this were an abstract entity outside of us, which has nothing to do with the Mayor ( the only one, but the only civil protection authority, and many of them are not even aware of it), with the Municipality, with the citizens who live in that municipality, who pay (or do not pay) taxes, respect (or not) respect) the rules, have direct responsibilities on things and the level of risk they decide (unconsciously, maybe) to accept.

Do you have news of any interesting initiative outside of Italy?
I had some contact with other European experiences, France, Switzerland, Greece. And what struck me is that even in very different contexts, in these countries an attempt to imagine a work plan on risk education, organic and long-term, has been done. In Swiss Planat; in Greece EPPO. But what struck me most is the French IFFO-RME trainers’ network, which I met directly a few years ago: not that it is a very advanced experience in terms of content definition, action strategies or anything else, but it is a national initiative, consolidated over time, involving a flood of subjects, from ministries (environment, education, interiors), to universities, etc. Exactly what is missing from us.

Hope you can improve something in the future in this area?
Frankly speaking, I am afraid not. It is a very difficult time for the National Service of Civil Protection, for the Department that coordinates it, for my own Institute that is part of it. The resources are reduced, the tightening and the twitching of administrative procedures in the public sector are rapidly leading us to paralysis (we are already there), there is no real change of personnel, not many years have been investing in recruiting staff with adequate skills (in the fields of communication, training, educational planning), the different ‘pieces’ of the National Service – as shown by many initiatives to which I have mentioned – are each on their own. The same campaign I Do Not Risk, the first and only one that has really had a national character and has tried to give itself continuity, is at the limit of survival (for many reasons that do not go deeper).
It would be necessary – I do not say it because I’m talking to you, I assure you – of returning to the spirit of the Geodynamic Finalized Project, when all the best energies, seismological and geological research, planning, engineering, etc. they worked together on the goal of “defence against earthquakes”. Forty years have passed, we are forced – I am afraid – to start again from before that project.





Come ridurre una volta per tutte il rischio sismico in Italia (di Patrizia Feletig e Enzo Boschi)

In un articolo sul Corriere della Sera lunedì 19 marzo, Milena Gabanelli scrive di copertura assicurativa contro i terremoti ipotizzando un intervento dello Stato come avviene in alcuni paesi esteri, quale alternativa finanziariamente più sostenibile rispetto al risarcimento finanziato con varie “tasse sulla disgrazia”.
Giusto, anche perché i costi per la ricostruzione inseguono una parabola incontrollabile considerato l’aumento della concentrazione di ricchezza per metro quadro. Ma soprattutto con la diffusione di un sistema di copertura assicurativa, gli edifici verrebbero per forza sottoposti a collaudi strutturali. Come dovrebbe essere per attuare la famosa “carta d’identità del fabbricato” rimasta lettera morta. Mentre negli altri paesi europei un fabbricato senza una validazione strutturale non ottiene l’allacciamento di luce, acqua, ecc. in Italia, ci si limita alla verifica formale della sola certificazione energetica del fabbricato in occasione di vendita o locazione!

Una polizza potrebbe allora diventare un incentivo alla prevenzione con la responsabilizzazione delle istituzioni come testimonia la copertura da rischio contro catastrofi naturali francese a partecipazione mista stato-mercato in vigore dal 1982 e incresciosamente non citato nell’articolo! Per non discriminare tra aree ad alto rischio e quelle poco esposte, il premio è fisso, varia invece la franchigia a secondo se il comune dove risiede il fabbricato ha adottato provvedimenti come dei lavori di contenimento di corsi d’acqua o adeguamenti alle norme antisismiche, per contenere la propria esposizione ad alluvioni, terremoti, eruzioni vulcaniche.
Considerando gli otto terremoti più forti che hanno colpito la Penisola negli ultimi 42 anni, non si può non convenire che una polizza contro il sisma sia una misura più che necessaria. Deplorevole che se ne discuta da un quarto di secolo (il primo disegno di legge risale al 1993) e sebbene a volte la proposta sia anche riuscita a spuntare in qualche Finanziaria, è stata velocemente stralciata come fosse l’ennesima gabella impossibile da fare ingoiare al popolo dei proprietari di case.

Ma proprio la politica è doppiamente colpevole.
Primo per il suo irresponsabile fatalismo a ritenere di poter continuare ribaltare sull’iniziativa del singolo la messa in sicurezza delle abitazioni recentemente “incentivata” con la detraibilità fiscale. Il sisma bonus è un lodevole strumento fortemente voluto da Ermete Realacci ma la cui efficacia si scontra con il cronico vizio dei lavori edili in nero.
Secondo, se il 70% del patrimonio immobiliare di un territorio sismico come l’Italia, risulta inadeguato a scosse di medie magnitudo, è anche grazie alla sconsideratezza con la quale gli amministratori locali spesso, non hanno vietato l’edificabilità in aree a rischio. Casamicciola è solo l’ultimo dei tanti casi. Lo stesso vale quando nelle nuove costruzioni o negli interventi di riqualificazione, non hanno fatto rispettare le leggi sulla prevenzione sismica.
Il sindaco di Amatrice è indagato proprio per il crollo di una palazzina che nel 2009 venne evacuata a seguito delle scosse dell’Aquila e, in seguito degli interventi di ripristino, dichiarata dal comune agibile salvo franare la notte del 24 agosto 2016 causando la morte dei suoi abitanti.

Decisamente scellerata poi è la piaga dei condoni, la cui madre di tutte le regolarizzazioni dell’abusivismo è la legge 47 del 1985 del governo Berlusconi. Una sanatoria per la quale grande fu la protesta affinché almeno i territori dichiarati sismici fossero esclusi da questa delittuosa fittizia idoneità assegnata per default all’edificazione precaria, fuori norma, illecita. Sì delittuoso, perché la natura è matrigna ma le vittime dei terremoti sono attribuibili all’abusivismo, alle irregolarità, alla sciatteria, che hanno molti corresponsabili. In un tragico intreccio dove i colpevoli magari finiscono anche per essere loro stessi vittime delle loro azioni o omissioni. Ma questa non è giustizia.

Masonry buildings to the test of Italian earthquakes (interview with Guido Magenes)

…..This comparison with medicine fits very well, there are really many similarities between the work of the technician who has to understand what to do with an existing building and that of the doctor who tries to make a diagnosis and to find a correct therapy for a patient…..

versione italiana qui: Gli edifici in muratura alla prova dei terremoti italiani (colloquio con Guido Magenes)

Guido Magenes is Professor of Structural Engineering at the University of Pavia and IUSS Pavia. He is also the coordinator of the Masonry Structures division of the EUCENTRE Foundation. His area of ​​greatest competence is the seismic behavior of masonry buildings and for this reason he has also participated and still participates in numerous Italian and European technical-regulatory committees.
We discussed with him the behavior of masonry buildings in Italy, with particular reference to what happened during the last earthquakes.

1. The earthquakes of 2016 have determined a sequence of shaking that has put a strain on the buildings of the affected area, especially those in masonry. The effects seen in the field are very different: next to the buildings already heavily damaged by the earthquake of August 24th, there are others that have seen their condition worsen after the shock in October, and others that seem not to have suffered serious damage in all the sequence. Do you have an explanation for this?

 The masonry buildings stock in our country has very variable characteristics and qualities, depending on the era of construction, the materials and construction criteria that were used, the type and architectural form (ordinary buildings or churches, palaces, towers, etc … ), any maintenance and reinforcement or tampering and weakening processes that may have occurred over time. Certainly there are recurrent types of problems, but the diversity of the behavior of masonry buildings, apart from the severity of the shaking (or the different ground motion in the various sites), is  essentially due to this great variability.
Therefore, in the specific case of the seismic sequence of central Italy, which involved a very large area and a considerable variety of buildings, we observed what you say: from the recently built building, of a few storeys, in great part or fully compliant with the modern design and construction criteria, which did not show significant damage, to historic buildings with large spans and heights, such as churches, which tend to be more vulnerable and have therefore suffered great damage and collapse because of their dimensions, geometric ratios and their structural organization. In many if not most cases, also the poor quality of the materials has further worsened the situation.

2. In all the municipalities affected, seismic regulations were in force, with various years of enforcement (the extremes are represented by Amatrice and Accumoli, 1927, and Arquata del Tronto, 1984). The distribution of the damage does not seem to be influenced by these differences; is there a reason?Schermata 2018-02-05 alle 20.44.50Not all regulations are equally effective: a 1927 standard is obviously very different, under many points of view, from a rule of the 1980s or the years 2000s and, as I mentioned above, the buildings built in compliance with the latest rules behaved generally well (constructed with artificial blocks and mortars of good strength, or even stone buildings demolished and rebuilt with good quality mortars). Therefore, I would not say that the distribution of damage is not at all influenced by the regulatory context. It depends on what was written in the norm and how many buildings were built or repaired or reinforced after the introduction of the norm (in the affected centers a significant percentage of the buildings had been built before the seismic regulations that you mentioned).

The rules and design criteria are not necessarily born perfect and they have to adjust, to evolve based on the experience of earthquakes. For example, it is only fifteen or twenty years that we began to recognize that certain types of interventions proposed and widely applied after the earthquakes of Friuli and Basilicata can be harmful or plainly ineffective (think of the infamous reinforced concrete ring beams “in breccia” inserted at intermediate floors in an existing building in stone masonry: in Umbria-Marche ’97 we have begun to see its shortcomings).
In the areas in which the presence of a regulation or a seismic classification seems to have had no effect, it must also be taken into account that the on-site control of the quality of construction and execution, in particular for masonry buildings, were inexistent or ineffective at least until the more recent regulations. The use of a very bad mortar is a recurrent element in many of the old masonry buildings collapsed or damaged in the last seismic sequence. In centers like Accumoli and Amatrice it seems that even where interventions had been carried out on buildings, replacing old floors, for example, or inserting some ties, the problem of poor quality of the masonry had been greatly overlooked, ultimately making the interventions ineffective. We can add that a large part of those areas suffered a considerable depopulation since the early 1900s, with inevitable consequences on the maintenance of buildings, which has led to an increase in widespread vulnerability.

Then there are some particular cases in which historical norms and more recent norms seem to have had a positive effect. Take Norcia’s example: without going into the details of the measurements of the characteristics of the ground motion, it is a fact that Norcia in the last sequence suffered strong shaking, comparable to those of Amatrice and Accumoli but with a much lower damage to buildings. In the history of Norcia there were two very significant events that may have affected  the response of the buildings in the 2016 sequence, one before and one following the 1962 regulations. In 1859 a strong earthquake caused numerous collapses and victims in some areas of the historical center, and following this the Papal State issued a quite effective regulation that gave a series of provisions for repairs and reconstructions: on geometry, in particular on the maximum height of the buildings (two floors), on the construction details, on the quality of materials. Then, in 1979 there was another earthquake in Valnerina, after which other parts of the historic center were damaged, followed by a series of systematic reinforcement measures on many buildings. In many of these buildings the reinforcement of the vertical walls (even with the controversial technique of the reinforced plaster) has remedied one of the main elements of vulnerability, i.e. the weakness/poor quality of the masonry walls. If for a moment we leave aside the elements that can go against the use of reinforced plaster (such as the durability of the intervention), and we see it simply as a technique that has remedied a factor of great vulnerability, we can say that for Norcia there has been a positive combined effect of pre-modern and more recent regional regulations, stemming from the direct experience of seismic events.

3. Let’s  talk about seismic regulations and in particular of their engineering aspects. We hear that they have changed a lot over time, and that perhaps the non-recent ones were not entirely effective. Is it true, and if so why?

As for the engineering component of the regulation, what we now know about the structural and seismic behavior of buildings, in masonry and other structural systems, is the result of a continuous evolution through the experience of earthquakes in Italy and in other parts of the world. In Italy the engineering study of masonry buildings has resumed life, after decades of almost total abandonment, after the 1976 earthquake in Friuli. The first norms/codes that give indications on how to “calculate” a masonry building in Italy date back to the early 80s (to “calculate” I mean “quantitatively assess the level of safety”). Although “calculation” is not the only component of the design, this fact gives the idea of ​​how only the very recent rules have a technical-scientific basis aligned with current knowledge. I would like to say that the absence of calculation in a project does not necessarily imply that the building is unsafe: in the past we followed geometric and constructive rules of an empirical type, based on the experience and intuition of the mechanical behavior, although not explicated in detailed calculations. Even today, for the design of a simple and regular masonry building, it is possible to follow codified geometrical and constructive rules that avoid detailed or complex calculations, but still achieve an adequate level of safety.
The experience of the earthquakes of Irpinia, Umbria-Marche, until the most recent in central Italy, have been a continuous test and a source of knowledge. For example, as mentioned in my answer to the previous question, the Umbria-Marche 1997 earthquake, besides highlighting the great vulnerability of churches and of certain historical structures, has been an important test for strengthening criteria and techniques on masonry buildings that were proposed and developed following the Italian earthquakes of the late ’70s, showing how some techniques are not very effective or can even be harmful if applied indiscriminately and without awareness

To conclude my answer with my opinion on current technical standards, I think that as regards the design of new buildings we are really at a very advanced state of progress, which effectively attains the levels of safety that today are considered adequate. I think there are more uncertainties on the assessment and strengthening of existing buildings, even if it is not so much a regulatory problem but rather of scientific knowledge and of the correct identification of strategies and techniques for the intervention. It is certainly easier to design and build a seismic-resistant building from scratch, than to assess and intervene on an existing building.

4. How much – and how – does the construction and detailing of a building affect its seismic safety, beyond the design?

The question gives me the opportunity to dwell a little more on what is meant by “design”, which is something different from the mere “calculation”. The design includes all aspects of overall conception, choice and organization of the structure, choice of materials and construction techniques (with the awareness of how they can and should be executed in situ), performance verification calculations in terms of safety against collapse and of satisfactory behavior in normal operation, prescriptions on construction details. In modern seismic design it is also necessary to take into account, when relevant, the seismic response of the non-structural parts of the construction. There must also be a check that what is prescribed in the design is actually implemented during construction.

The calculation is therefore only a component of the design. It is interesting to note that most of the existing masonry buildings were not calculated, at least as we understand structural calculations now. The first Italian national technical standard on masonry constructions with a sufficiently detailed description of the calculations for the structural verification dates back to 1987. Technical standards with indications for the seismic calculation, were issued after the earthquake of Friuli 1976 and in subsequent times. Before those norms, a technical literature and manuals existed, with reference to the principles of mechanics, as well as a building tradition. I would like to clarify that here I am talking about regulations/norms that tell how to calculate the resistance of a masonry building, subject to seismic or non-seismic actions. Just to give an example, the Royal Decree of 1909 (post earthquake of Messina), a historical milestone as regards seismic regulations, gives criteria to define the seismic action, gives constructive and geometric rules but does not tell how to calculate the resistance (the capacity, according to the modern technical language) of a masonry building.

The constructive tradition based on the respect of the “rule of art” always had in mind the importance of construction details, of the quality of the materials, of how the building is built, and this has allowed and allows well-constructed buildings (but not “calculated”, i.e. non-engineered) to withstand even very violent seismic shocks. In modern buildings, the compliance during construction site of the execution rules, the control of the quality of the materials, is equally important, although this holds for masonry as for the other types of construction. The sensitivity of the structure to constructional defects is a function of the level of robustness of the structural system. A masonry box-like construction, strongly hyperstatic (i.e. where the number of resistant elements is higher than the minimum necessary to ensure equilibrium under the applied loads) could in principle be less sensitive to construction defects than an isostatic prefabricated structure (i.e. where the number of resistant elements is just equal to the minimum necessary to ensure equilibrium under the applied loads, so that the failure of a single element is sufficient to generate a collapse). Obviously we are talking about local defects and not generalized over the whole construction. If all materials are poor quality throughout the construction, then it is a great problem, but not necessarily a masonry building is more sensitive to such problem than, say, a reinforced concrete frame, in which also defects in the reinforcement detailing are possible (for instance in beam-column joints or in lap splices or in anchorage of rebars and so forth).

5. Many surveyors in post-earthquake reconnaissance activities have found traces of interventions that have allegedly weakened the structures. Do you agree?

In post-earthquake surveys, carried out quickly in emergency conditions, it is not always possible to clearly understand the history of the building and what changes have been made, in what time and modalities, but sometimes it is clear that some modifications to the construction have been detrimental to safety. Often these are interventions that were made with total unawareness of the effects on structural safety and purely for the purpose of use and redistribution of space. In other cases, more rare, there are also interventions made with “structural” purposes, perhaps even with the idea of ​​achieving an increase in safety, but which in reality were harmful or ineffective. A classic example, often discussed in the literature also on the basis of the Italian post-earthquake recognitions from Umbria-Marche 1997 onwards, is the insertion of new, rigid and heavy structural elements (such as the replacement of a wooden floor with a reinforced concrete floor) in a building with very weak masonry (for example masonry made of irregular stones with poor mortar), without the masonry being properly consolidated. There was a period, following the earthquakes of Friuli and Irpinia, where much emphasis was given to the fact that rigid diaphragms (i.e. the floors and roofs) increase the hyperstaticity, hence the robustness of the construction and the so-called “box behaviour”, by which engineers tried to replicate in existing structures something that is relatively simple to implement, and whose effects are well controllable, in new constructions, but which in an existing construction has great problems of practical implementation (particularly in the connection between new elements and existing elements) and of potentially negative structural effects (increase of stresses in an already weak masonry). It is important to note that the effectiveness of the interventions is tested by earthquakes that take place in later times, and in some areas of central Italy it has been possible to draw indications of this kind. In the earthquake of Umbria-Marche in 1997 it was possible to observe various problematic situations in buildings where the existing floors had been replaced by heavier and more rigid slabs.

Allow me, however, to add a further comment. From the scientific point of view, the fact that an intervention is “harmful” or weakens the structure compared to the non-intervention is verifiable experimentally only if there is a confirmation of what would happen to the building without intervening and what would happen following the intervention . This type of comparison in the vast majority of practical cases  is not possible, except for very fortunate cases of almost identical buildings built on the same ground where one was reinforced and the other not, or that were reinforced with different methods. Or through laboratory experiments, comparing specimens tested on a “shaking table” (earthquake simulator). So, in general I am always rather skeptical of interpretations given on the basis of purely visual rapid surveys, without the necessary in-depth study of the details and without a quantitative analysis carried out in a competent and thorough manner.
I can say (and I know that many colleagues have a similar opinion) that in many cases seen in central Italy the collapse of the construction would have taken place regardless of the type of floor, light or heavy, rigid or flexible, by virtue of the bad quality of the masonry, which appeared to be the main problem.

6. How did the repetition of the strong shocks play in the aggravation of the damage (where it occurred)? Is it something that is implicitly foreseen, and taken care of, by the seismic norms? On the other hand, how do you explain the numerous cases of almost total absence of damage?

The repeated shaking aggravates the damage, the more the damage caused by the previous shock is serious. It seems a rather obvious statement, but essentially it is what happens. For example, if a first shock on a masonry building generates only a few cracks, not very wide and of a certain type (for example horizontal cracks, which close after the shock due to selfweight), the building has not lost much of its resistance; so if it is subjected to repeated shaking, less intense than the first shock, it is possible that the damage does not get too much worse, and if it is subjected to a shaking stronger than the first shock it will have a resistance equal to or slightly less than it would have if the first shock had not been there. On the other hand, if a shock leads to the development of diagonal cracks (so-called “shear cracks”) or vertical cracks with spalling, the damaged part has lost a significant portion of its ability to resist and subsequent repeated shaking can lead to progressive degradation and collapse, even if the subsequent shocks suffered by the building, individually, are perhaps less strong than the first one. This is something visible and reproducible also in the laboratory.

That said, there are types of constructions and structural elements that are more or less sensitive to the repetition of the seismic action. When seismic engineers speak of “ductility” of the structure or of a mechanism, they also refer to the ability of a structure to resist repeated loading cycles well beyond the threshold of the first crack or the first visible damage, without reaching collapse. A well-designed modern reinforced concrete construction is a structure of this type, for example. Unreinforced masonry, on the other hand, is more susceptible to damage induced by the repetition of loading cycles beyond cracking. As a consequence, existing masonry buildings, once damaged by a first shock, are more vulnerable to subsequent shocks. On the other hand, if the first shock does not cause significant damage, the safety of the building remains, in most cases, more or less unchanged and this accounts for the fact that numerous masonry constructions have also resisted repeated shocks. Unfortunately, sometimes the damage may not be clearly visible. Damage in masonry originates in the form of micro-cracks (not visible to the naked eye) which then develop into macro-cracks. If in a laboratory test a sample of masonry is pushed to a condition very close to the onset of the macro-cracks but the load is removed just before they develop, it may happen that in a subsequent loading phase the macro-cracks develop at a load level lower than that achieved in the first phase. It may therefore happen that a building that has resisted a violent shock without apparent damage is visibly damaged by a subsequent shock less violent than the first.

You ask me if the behavior of the structure under repeated shocks is implicitly considered in the seismic norms: the answer is yes, at least for certain aspects. For example, the respect of certain construction details in reinforced concrete and the application of certain rules in the sizing of the sections and of the reinforcement have this purpose: to make the structure less susceptible to damage under repeated actions. Moreover, less ductile structures, such as those in unreinforced masonry, are designed with higher seismic “loads” than the more ductile structures, also to compensate their greater susceptibility to degradation due to repeated action. However, there are some aspects of the problem of resistance and accumulation of damage under repeated shaking that remain to be explored and are still cutting-edge research topics. In particular, if it is true that theoretical models are becoming available to assess how the risk (i.e. the probability of collapse or damage) evolves in a building or a group of buildings as time passes and seismic shocks occur, these models must still be refined to give results that are quantitatively reliable.

7. It seems to me that the variety of masonry buildings, at least in Italy, is really large: so large that knowing them requires an approach similar to that of medicine, where each case has its own peculiarities. Therefore, there is perhaps no universal therapy, every case requires a specific care: is it correct? And if so, given that the building and construction techniques and quality of different areas of the Apennines (and others) are similar to those of the areas affected in 2016, should a similar destruction be expected to repeat again?

This comparison with medicine fits very well, there are really many similarities between the work of the technician who has to understand what to do with an existing building and that of the doctor who tries to make a diagnosis and to find a correct therapy for a patient. From the technical point of view there is no universal therapy and no (good) doctor would be able to apply a therapeutic protocol without the anamnesis, the objective examination, any necessary instrumental or laboratory tests and the formulation of a diagnosis (which tells us what is the patient’s disease / health status, and then defines what he needs, the therapy). The good technician follows a similar path to arrive at the evaluation of safety and possible hypotheses of intervention (or not intervention). Of course it is possible and necessary, as is the case for medicine and public health, to define strategies and policies for prioritization and allocation of resources to ensure that the overall seismic risk in our country decreases. Certainly, where the old buildings have not been subject to maintenance, or just to aesthetic and functional maintenance without structural reinforcement, we can expect destructions similar to those seen in 2016 on the occasion of future earthquakes of comparable magnitude. This applies to both public and private buildings.

Where instead we have intervened or will intervene in a conscious way, paying attention to the problem of seismic safety, the level of damage to be expected is  lower, as the experience of the past earthquakes teaches us.
Allow me to conclude this interview with some non-purely technical engineering comments. The possibility of reducing the seismic risk in Italy depends on many factors, ranging from how politics govern the problem of natural hazards, to how technicians, individually and collectively, interact and communicate with politics, to how the presence of risk is communicated to the population, to how, as a consequence,  the citizen makes his choices when he buys or takes decisions to maintain a property. In my opinion it is necessary to progressively evolve into a system in which the citizen recognizes that it is in his own interest to pursue a higher seismic safety, initially spending a little more, because he will have a return in the future not only in terms of safety but also of economic benefit, for example in the market value of his property. The “Sismabonus” initiative is certainly a first step in this direction, but other steps will have to be taken. The goal, certainly not easy to achieve, should be that the safety level of a building has a clear and recognized economic market value, and I think this would work for both the small owner and for real estate investors. I know that some are scared by this perspective, but personally I think that, at least for what concerns privately owned real estate and facilities, there are no other ways to achieve, within a few decades, a substantial and widespread reduction of seismic risk in Italy.


Sopra i nostri piedi – Above our feet (di M. Stucchi)

(english version below)

Questo titolo prende manifestamente spunto da quello del bellissimo volume di Alessandro Amato: “Sotto i nostri piedi”, arrivato alla seconda ristampa (con integrazione sulla sequenza sismica del 2016 in Centro Italia) e in distribuzione nelle edicole con “Le Scienze”, dopo che l’autore è stato finalista del Premio Letterario Galileo 2017.

Il volume di Amato tratta di sismologia, previsione dei terremoti, aspetti scientifici, culturali e politici. I sismologi si occupano di descrivere, nel miglior modo possibile, come si generano i terremoti e come le onde sismiche si propagano nella Terra; il tutto, appunto, sotto i nostri piedi. Alcuni sismologi si occupano, in una specie di terra di confine dove operano anche alcuni ingegneri, di descrivere come le onde sismiche interagiscono con la superficie del terreno e con gli edifici: quindi, di fornire la descrizione del moto del suolo nelle modalità più adatte all’ingegneria sismica. Questa terra di confine si chiama in inglese “engineering seismology”, le cui possibili traduzioni italiane suonano tutte male. Una Sezione dell’INGV, quella di Milano, si occupa in prevalenza di questi aspetti ed era denominata “Sismologia Applicata”; tempo fa aveva ricercato una collaborazione stretta, istituzionale, con la Fondazione Eucentre di Pavia, alla cui costituzione INGV aveva peraltro contribuito come socio fondatore, sia pure con poco merito e ancor meno investimento. Continua a leggere

Ischia, Torre Annunziata, perception of risk and magnitude (M. Stucchi)

This is a quick translation from the Italian version, with the help of Google. Sorry for the imperfect English. Thanks to Ina Cecic for her prompt review.

Italy was beginning to remember the anniversary of Amatrice’s earthquake (August 24, 2016) in different ways, of course, when the Ischia earthquake dramatically reopened the problem of so-called prevention, of which so much has been said and spoken about.
On the morning of the 21st, the day of the earthquake, Minister Del Rio had spoken at the Rimini (Comunione and Liberazione) meeting. Del Rio is a Minister of a couple of governments I do not like, but among the many is a person I trust. After (unfortunately) reproposing a “pearl” that must have remained in his pocket since the earthquakes of 2012 (“the area was not known as seismic“, ignoring the work done by the Emilia and Romagna Region to delay as much as possible the affiliation to a seismic zone of much of its territory), he recalled, illustrated and defended the so-called “sismabonus” and the initiatives of “Casa Italia”, also reminding that the solution of the problems is not for tomorrow. Stimulated by some interlocutors, he also pushed further on, talking about the necessity of the “building dossier” and of demolitions, where necessary. Ohibò! Continua a leggere

Earthquakes and Great Risks: a blog 2014-2015 (M. Stucchi)

“Earthquakes and Great Risks” è stato, a partire dall’ottobre 2014, il cugino di lingua inglese di questo blog. E’ nato soprattutto per fornire al lettore internazionale la versione “corretta” dei fatti legati al processo “Grandi Rischi”, a fronte di una diffusione impressionante di informazioni e interpretazioni che possiamo definire inesatte – nel migliore dei casi.
Il blog ha contenuto una ventina di post, parte dei quali – a cura di G. Cavallo e di M. Stucchi – dedicati a fare chiarezza su quanto sopra, e parte a fornire una cronaca, quasi in diretta, del processo d’Appello.
E’ stato letto da qualche migliaia di lettori provenienti da 98 nazioni (vedi  mappa).

Schermata 2017-08-02 alle 15.44.13

Rileggendolo oggi, a parte le imprecisioni e gli inevitabili errori di lingua, si ha l’impressione che abbia fornito una analisi attenta e circostanziata – forse più che in questo stesso blog – dei principali “pitfalls” riguardanti il processo sulla base dei quali sono stati costruiti numerosi articoli internazionali, anche su riviste “peer reviewed”, scritti anche da illustri colleghi. Questo sforzo è stato riconosciuto da diversi lettori.

Per non perdere questi contenuti il blog, che verrà chiuso a breve, è stato  salvato nella sezione “English material”.

La vicenda processuale alla prova del romanzo. Luci e ombre del volume “La causalità psichica nei reati colposi” di Marco Billi (di Cecilia Valbonesi)

Cecilia Valbonesi è Dottore di ricerca in Diritto penale presso l’Università degli Studi di Firenze e Avvocato del Foro di Firenze. Per motivi scientifici ha seguito e commentato il cosiddetto  processo Grandi Rischi. In ultimo si veda “Terremoti colposi e terremoto della colpa: riflessioni a margine  della sentenza “Grandi Rischi”, in Rivista Italiana di Diritto e Procedura Penale, 2016, n. 3, p. 1498.
Le abbiamo chiesto un commento al volume – uscito lo scorso marzo – del Giudice di primo grado del processo stesso, Marco Billi.

Di recente, il copioso panorama letterario sulla vicenda giudiziaria relativa alle responsabilità della c.d. Commissione Grandi Rischi si è arricchito di un nuovo volume dal titolo “La causalità psichica nei reati colposi”.
L’ambizioso progetto reca la firma del Giudice estensore della prima sentenza di merito (Tribunale di L’Aquila, 22/10/2012, n. 380) che, accogliendo pienamente le prospettazioni accusatorie, ha condannato per omicidio colposo plurimo e lesioni colpose i sette scienziati i quali, a suo giudizio, “componevano la Commissione Grandi Rischi” della Protezione civile nella riunione del 31 marzo 2009. The L’Aquila Seven  furono ritenuti responsabili di quella scorretta valutazione e informazione sul rischio sismico che avrebbe cagionato la morte ed il ferimento di 29 cittadini (13 secondo la Corte d’Appello e la Corte di Cassazione)  rimasti schiacciati sotto le macerie delle proprie case. Continua a leggere

Terremoti, esposizione e assicurazioni (di P. Feletig e A. Boschi)

Di tutti paesi dell’Europa l’Italia è il paese più esposto alle catastrofi. Terremoti, alluvioni, frane, maremoti, avversità atmosferiche eccezionali di ogni sorta, colpiscono regolarmente il Belpaese che deve mettere in conto dai 3-3,5 miliardi annui  di danni materiali. In media, perché se succede “the Big One”, ovvero l’evento con ricorrenza ogni 200 anni allora le perdite economiche causate da calamità schizzano molto in alto.

Per esempio, incrociando la storia sismica nazionale con gli strumenti parametrici di sofisticati modelli si ricavano proiezioni da brivido. Secondo una simulazione della società svizzera di riassicurazione Swiss Re, un terremoto di magnitudo 6.2 (come quello di Amatrice) nell’area di Parma potrebbe causare perdite per 53 miliardi di euro. A titolo di confronto, considerate che gli 8 rilevanti terremoti (escluso quello dell’ultima settimana) avvenuti negli ultimi 40 anni sulla Penisola hanno totalizzato danni per 60 miliardi di euro circa.
Per completare queste fosche statistiche bisogna sapere che, dal 1970 ad oggi, 7 dei 10 terremoti  più costosi d’Europa si sono verificati in Italia paese doppiamente esposto sia per la vulnerabilità del suo patrimonio artistico che per le costruzioni edificate in assenza o in barba alla normativa antisisimica. Aspetto che dovrebbe far riflettere sulla concessione  del governo di assicurare il risarcimento a tutti, comunque e nonostante le responsabilità precise di taluni, pubblico o privato che siano.

L’indesiderabile primato italiano di esposizione alle catastrofi naturali si accompagna di un’aggravante: risarcire costerà sempre di più. Si accresce il valore concentrato su ogni metro quadro. E’ un trend in accelerazione confermano nel settore assicurativo. Del resto basta paragonare i macchinari di una filanda con quelli di una fabbrica 4.0 di oggi; ma più semplicemente, basta il confronto tra la concentrazione edilizia ai tempi dei nostri nonni e quella di adesso o, ancora, tra gli elettrodomestici contenuti nella casa dei genitori e le apparecchiature elettroniche mediamente possedute oggi.
E’ evidente che con questo aumento vertiginoso dell’esposizione, indennizzare con il solo intervento dello Stato non può reggere alla lunga. Non sono solo le casse pubbliche a non farcela ma finisce per azzopparsi l’intero sistema paese con ripercussioni sulle valutazioni delle società di rating. Si calcola che un evento catastrofale con ritorno, ossia che avviene statisticamente ogni 250 anni può arrivare a produrre una retrocessione di quasi un punto.

C’è poi una prospettiva macro che va tenuta in considerazione. “Le misure di prevenzione e gli interventi strutturali antisismici sono fondamentali e imprescindibili ma neppure così il rischio può essere completamente annullato, in particolare quello di natura economico-finanziaria. Una grande calamità catastrofale, inoltre, sconvolge il sistema economico produttivo del Paese, mette a dura prova la sua resilienza, impatta sul PIL. Magari salviamo la vita ma perdiamo casa e lavoro: di qui l’importanza di una gestione del rischio ex-ante combinando prevenzione anti-sismica e copertura finanziaria-assicurativa” spiega Marco Coletta a capo di una compagnia di riassicurazione con 150 anni di attività alle spalle, sottolineando il deficit di protezione assicurativa in Italia.
Le PMI (Piccole e Medie Imprese) sono largamente sottoassicurate contro catastrofi naturali e poco più di 1% degli immobili residenziali è coperto. La penetrazione assicurativa del ramo danni non-auto misurata in volume dei premi danni non auto in rapporto al PIL in Italia è pari a 0,9%, in Francia a 2,4%, in Germania a 2,5% e mediamente sopra 2% in tutti gli altri paesi europei dove il meccanismo di mutualità permette di correggere l’incidenza economica del premio sul portatore di rischio più alto. Pagando tutti, pagheremmo molto meno.
“Con una penetrazione superiore a 90% si avrebbero premi medi di 100 euro l’anno. Ma c’è un problema culturale” riconoscono alcuni assicuratori che non nascondono la difficoltà di far accettare un concetto di obbligatorietà a consumatori già guardinghi con l’obbligo del RC auto e professionali e auspica una campagna di sensibilizzazione promossa dal governo. Singolare la modesta attenzione del legislatore alla funzione sociale della copertura assicurativa contro inondazioni e terremoti in un paese come l’Italia. Non godono di nessun incentivo fiscale: non sono deducibili nella dichiarazione dei redditi (come invece avviene per le polizze vita) e l’Iva è alta ( 22,25%). Gli schemi di copertura potrebbero prevedere una cooperazione tra pubblico e privato. Lo Stato potrebbe assumere il ruolo di riassicuratore in ultima istanza, dove per esempio le compagnie private coprono fino a concorrenza di un importo alto, oltre a quella soglia (caso meno probabile) interverrebbe lo Stato che potrebbe, per esempio, coprirsi con operazioni di cartolarizzazione di immobili pubblici.

Se il terremoto dell’Irpinia dove i primi soccorritori ad arrivare sul posto furono operai specializzati inviati dal sindacato, ha portato alla nascita della Protezione Civile, possiamo sperare che questi ultimi sismi in Centro Italia, portino a soluzioni efficienti e finanziariamente sostenibili di risarcimento dei danni economici da calamità naturali?

Continua a leggere