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Valtellina Landslide and Flood Emergency, Northern Italy, 1987

ALEXANDER, D; (1988) Valtellina Landslide and Flood Emergency, Northern Italy, 1987. Disasters , 12 (3) pp. 212-222. 10.1111/j.1467-7717.1988.tb00671.x.

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This report describes the progress of the landslide and flood emergency that occurred in Valtellina, in the northern Italian Alps, during July and August 1987. For the authorities, the critical problem was one of controlling the rise of a large lake impounded on the River Adda by landslide debris that threatened to breach catastrophically, releasing a major floodwave. Several lessons can be learned from the way in which the emergency was managed. First, helicopters played a critical role in evacuating survivors and moving supplies around the disaster area, but there was scope for better co‐ordination of operations. Secondly, high levels of private car ownership allowed greater flexibility in designing mass evacutation plans for threatened communites, but such high personal mobility proved difficult to control in order to ensure public safety. In future, education programmes could be used to help people appreciate the dangers of driving during periods of great natural hazard risk. Thirdly, the Valtellina disaster coincided with a change of national government, including substitution of the Minister of Civil Protection. This led to a policy vacuum, sub‐optimal decision making and erosion of public confidence in political leaders. Landslide‐dammed lakes represent a widespread but rather unpredictable hazard: they therefore require flexible emergency repsonse, but not without decisive leadership. Copyright © 1988, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved

Type: Article
Title: Valtellina Landslide and Flood Emergency, Northern Italy, 1987
DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-7717.1988.tb00671.x
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1391505
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