In the last few weeks Italy has been hit by several “extraordinary” catastrophic natural events, mudslides and flashfloods with severe damages and numerous victims among the population: Aulla in Tuscany, Vernazza, Monterosso and Genoa in Liguria, Saponara, Barcellona e Messina in Sicily are just the most recent episodes of this permanent national “emergency”.
On this Wikipedia page you can read the list of floodings that took place in the country since the 19th Century and their tragic consequences. From the rich north to the poor south these events seems not to neglect any region of the country.
I was in Genoa one week after the disaster who killed 7 people, 3 of them children, at the beginning of November. It was a beautiful sunny day and life was going on as usual in most part of the city. In the places that had been flooded people were still clearing and removing debris and damaged goods, helped by the so-called “mud-angels” (“angeli del fango”), young people from all over the country arrived there to help and bring a sunbeam of hope.
The contrast between everyday life and the images and videos from the flooding is striking and shows very clearly that such events can happen anywhere anytime, and , probably due to climate change, with increasing frequency and intensity. A study from the Berkeley Hearth might explain the extraordinary recurrence of such natural catastrophes and is well represented in this video.
Berkeley Earth video representation of the land surface temperature anomaly, 1800 to the present. The map of the world shows the temperature anomaly by location over time. The chart at the bottom, shows the global land-surface temperature anomaly. The Berkeley Earth analysis shows 0.911 degrees Centigrade of land warming (+/- 0.042 C) since the 1950s. For more information about this study visit http://berkeleyearth.org.
Maybe climate change is an explanation for some of the recent disasters, maybe it isn’t, but for sure random suburbanization and unplanned human settlements are causing most of their tragic consequences.