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L'Aquila, Central Italy, and the 'Disaster Cycle', 2009-2017

Alexander, DE; (2018) L'Aquila, Central Italy, and the 'Disaster Cycle', 2009-2017. Disaster Prevention and Management 10.1108/DPM-01-2018-0022. (In press). Green open access

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Purpose – This article offers a critical examination of the aftermath of the L'Aquila earthquake of 6th April 2009. It considers the elements of the recovery process that are unique or exceptional and endeavours to explain them. Design/methodology/approach – The analysis is based on a survey and synthesis of the abundant literature on the disaster, coupled with observations from the author's many visits to L'Aquila and personal involvement in the debates on the questions raised during the aftermath. Findings – Several aspects of the disaster are unique. These include the use of large, well appointed buildings as temporary accommodation and the efforts to use legal processes to obtain justice for alleged mismanagement of both the early emergency situation and faults in the recovery process. Research limitations/implications – Politics, history, economics and geography have conspired to make the L'Aquila disaster and its aftermath a multi-layered event that poses considerable challenges of interpretation. Practical implications – The L'Aquila case teaches first that moderate seismic events can entail a long and difficult process of recovery if the initial vulnerability is high. Secondly, for processes of recovery to be rational, they need to be safeguarded against the effects of political expediency and bureaucratic delay. Social implications – Many survivors of the L'Aquila disaster have been hostages to fortune, victims as much of broader political and socio-economic forces than of the earthquake itself. Originality/value – Although are now many published analyses of the L'Aquila disaster, as the better part of a decade has elapsed since the event, there is value in taking stock and making a critical assessment of developments. The context of this disaster is dynamic and extraordinarily sophisticated, and it provides the key to interpretation of developments that otherwise would probably seem illogical.

Type: Article
Title: L'Aquila, Central Italy, and the 'Disaster Cycle', 2009-2017
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1108/DPM-01-2018-0022
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-01-2018-0022
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Earthquake disaster, L'Aquila (Italy), Disaster cycle, Recovery from disaster, Post-disaster reconstruction, Shelter after disaster, Legal implications of disaster
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10051485
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