Earthquake Risk Management - An exploratory research in Ferrara City

Risk management is part of the risk analysis process, including both "risk assessment" and "risk management". It is performed to ensure that risk is maintained within an acceptable level to avoid any serious adverse effect to the public and environment by selecting the most suitable alternative (Tesfamariam, Sadiq, Najjaran, 2010). Risk management involves three public policies that are risk identification, risk reduction and disaster management (Cardona, 2004). These different public policies involve different social actors and as a consequence imply different disciplinary approaches, values, interests and strategies. Therefore, risk management inevitably requires an understanding of how disaster is managed, in terms of different stakeholders involved and processes activated. These aspects are particularly important in the case of seismic risk, a phenomena characterized by complexity and uncertainty (Vahdat, 2015), elements that make more difficult the identification of a generalized seismic risk management model. Since 1900 in Italy there were 30 earthquakes with a 5.8 or major magnitude, some of which were catastrophic (Rovida et al., 2011).
The research presented aimed at identifying the network of stakeholders involved in the management of the earthquake that affected the city of Ferrara (Emilia Romagna) on May 2012. In particular, we studied this network from a structural and functional point of view, in order to highlight its strengths and weaknesses. This research was part of the largest research project CLARA "CLoud plAtform and smart underground imaging for natural Risk Assessment", funded by Italian Ministry of Education, Universities, and Research (MIUR), whose main object was to mitigate the effects of landslides and earthquakes, affecting some Italian towns, by acquiring knowledge related to the environment. The risk management network was studied starting from legislative and technical documents (such as the Piano Intercomunale di Protezione Civile), integrated with in-depth interviews with stakeholders who have a key role in this network. The network is characterized by different levels of activation (national, regional, provincial and municipal), depending on the seriousness of the event. In the case of a-type event, each municipality intervenes with his own resources. In the case of b-type events, the level of intervention is extended to provincial and regional level. In the case of the c-type events the level of the network become national. From a structural and functional point of view, however, the risk management network activated during the earthquake of 2012, is a very complex and articulated system. Indeed, many actors, structures and services, each one with its own roles and functions, have intervened in the management of the emergency as stated by law. In particular, among the operating units, there were Fire fighters, Armed Forces, Police, State Forestry, the Italian Red Cross, national organizations of volunteers, the Department of Civil Protection. Among the decision units there were, instead, the Emilia Romagna Region, the Local Authorities and the companies of public and private services. For the first time the different actors have constantly communicated and interacted with each other, in order to ensure a connection between the different intervention levels and an adequate assistance to the population.
The analysis of the risk management network, activated during the earthquake in Ferrara, has highlighted that the existence of a model for seismic risk management is an essential, but not sufficient tool for the emergency management. This model need to be dynamic and flexible, that are key features for dealing with events, like earthquakes, which by their nature are difficult to be predicted (Stewart & Bostrom, 2002). The flexibility represented one of the strengths of the Ferrara risk management network, allowing a fast communication between different stakeholders and a better efficiency of the intervention. The intervention model should also be integrated by a clear definition and a shared knowledge of tasks, roles and functions of different stakeholders, whose scarcity represented one of the main weaknesses of the seismic management network in Ferrara. Work practices, aimed at the promotion between different stakeholders of the network of shared languages and shared working methods, should be promoted too.

Tipo Pubblicazione: 
Contributo in atti di convegno
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International Conference on Sustainable Development 2015, Grecia, 2-3 settembre 2015
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ISTC Author: 
Ritratto di Elisa Colì
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Ritratto di Maurizio Norcia
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