The impact on the population was very serious: two dead, one missing, many injured and thousands evacuated. Besides the physical damage, the psychological effects on the people affected also need to be taken into account. To this regard a group of volunteer psychologists got involved to help flood victims overcome the emergency situation.
Since it is not possible, at the time of writing, to provide a full report of the costs of what happened, the following figures intend to illustrate the impact on the region and on its economy.
A simple list per province of breaches of riverbanks, flooding and instability caused by the event enables us to understand the enormity of what happened and the difficulty faced by the population and by the aid givers in trying to deal with the emergency. Included in the operations were Regione Veneto, the national and local Civil Protection, Municipalities, Provinces, Prefectures, Local Health Services, Reclamation Authorities and Basin Authorities. Friuli Venezia Giulia, Valle d'Aosta, Marche, Emilia Romagna, Piemonte and Lombardia also gave their support. Along with these organisations, help was also lent by around 3,000 Civil Protection volunteers, around 800 fire-fighters, of whom one hundred or so came from other regions, around 300 soldiers, and all of the available police force. (Table 17.4.1)
Provisional and partial data from 2 May 2011 show that the largest amount of movable and immovable property was damaged in Vicenza; this was due to the flooding in the historical centre of Vicenza in a very busy residential area which contains a high density of commercial outlets. Thousands of houses and buildings were also damaged in the provinces of Padova and Verona, several hundred in Treviso and dozens between Belluno, Rovigo and Venezia.
The Veterinary Services of the Health Authorities involved reported a total of over 151,000 animals requiring compensation killed by the event, all of them in the municipalities of the province of Padova. Around 112,000 chickens, 36,000 turkeys and 3,000 rabbits came from intensive livestock farms, while another 59 of the deaths were of bigger animals, such as cows, pigs and goats, almost all of which were also from farms. We should also add wild animals to the numbers of dead animals counted by the Veterinary Services of the Health Authorities.
Particular attention should also be paid to all the production and trade activities which were brought to their knees by what happened. Here, besides the direct, material damage we should also take into account the consequences on competitiveness and on the determination to start all over again.
Waste is also another question to be taken into consideration: apart from the need to dispose of enormous quantities of non-separated waste, the flood also caused polluting agents from purification plants, hydrocarbon tanks, deposits of solvents, paints etc. to disperse across the region and they required some immediate damage-control operations. Nevertheless, samples and analyses carried out by ARPAV at the end of March 2011 in the provinces of Padova, Verona and Vicenza show limited levels of soil pollution. In practically every case, the analyses came back as completely environmentally compatible, with values within the legal limits and falling within the natural background level with regards metals and heavy hydrocarbons present in the ground and sediment. Two samples contained values that were very different from the standard. One in the province of Padova with anomalous amounts of chrome, and one in the province of Verona with excessive levels of copper, which, however, may derive from pesticide treatments congruous with farming practices.
During the disaster and the days directly afterwards, 129 works got underway and practically all of them have now been finished. Of these initial work sites, 111 were set up by the Civil Engineering Project Unit and 18 by the Reclamation Authorities, for a total cost of around 40 million euro. They were what are known as emergency works to prop up collapsed riverbanks, stop landslides and restore basic functionality once more after an event which flooded 140 km2 of land, some of which stayed flooded for more than a week. Other interventions were planned at the same time to back up the initial ones or to help restore water safety to pre-flood levels or to improve them. Afterwards other emergency interventions were carried out to deal with two further floods: the first one on Christmas Eve 2010, the second on 16 March 2011, which, among other things, flooded part of the populated centre of Soave. Overall, the 249 works were connected to the flood, more than 100 of them have already been completed, another 100 are still being carried out and the remainder are in the final stages of being planned, authorised or contracted out.
Almost two thirds of the municipalities which claimed damages have already received an initial part-payment on the reimbursement for the damages reported. Amounts were distributed to 5 provincial and 228 municipal governments (Note 7)
based on the "Quantification of Damage" forms sent out by the authorities and handed in to the Executive Commissioner by 12 January 2011. Regione Veneto distributed a total amount of over 118 million euro to the Municipalities and Provinces devastated by the floods.
In order to create a list of the Municipalities affected, the total amount of damage reported was taken into account and four classes were created in order to decide on each amount. Twenty-eight Municipalities received an initial sum of 30% of the total damages claimed, equalling more than two million euro; twelve of the municipalities are in the provinces of Vicenza and Padova. Twenty-seven
municipalities have received a sum equalling 20% of estimated damages, adding up to between one and two million euro, and fifty-eight municipal governments with damage estimates of between 300,000 and one million euro have received 5% of the costs. The remaining 115 municipalities received 10% of the sum of the damages declared. (Figure 17.4.1)
Response times were very, very tight. On 2 November the regional government declared it a crisis and on 5 November the national government declared a state of emergency. On 13 November an order issued by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi named a Commissioner to oversee the emergency and the appropriation of 300 million euro was announced. On 15 December, around one month later, the 300 million euro indicated in the Prime Minister's order were actually made available for the Commissioner in a bank account created to this end with Banca d'Italia. On 17 December the first contributions, to the tune of 93.35 million euro, reached the 26 worst-hit municipalities, covering 30% of the reported damage. On 20 December, 11 million euro towards damages had arrived in the coffers of the other municipalities. A further 50 million euro were set aside to pay for a part of the emergency works which had already been carried out and for the other urgent interventions, which in the meantime have all been planned and are ready to get started. After the further flooding on 16 March this year, new works were added to the list, for a total of around 30 million euro.
In the meantime a Strategic Intervention Plan for risk mitigation has been prepared for a total amount of around 2.7 billion euro. This plan will be proposed through an order by the Commissioner. After that, initiatives to carry out the measures required by the next planning phases and to gather the necessary funds can be set up.
By Friday 29 April 2011, a sum of 5,048,826 euro had been raised for the flood victims, 1,815,408 of which came from people donating through text messages to show their solidarity. Half of the donations were from bank transfers, almost 40% of which went into the Conto Corrente Solidarietà
, an account set up especially for this purpose, and almost 10% into the Conto Tesoreria
, a cash account, both set up by Regione Veneto. Text messages worth two euro each accounted for 36% of the total collected. Around 15% has already been allocated to getting the Pusterla bridge back into working order, with financial aid also coming from the Municipality of Vicenza. (Table 17.4.2)
On 29 April 2011, just over 2 million euro had been deposited in the Conto Corrente Solidarietà
. The business sector favoured this method as a way of generously demonstrating its solidarity, donating around 875,000 euro. Many individual citizens also contributed to it, providing around half a million euro, and public bodies sent in just under that amount. The remaining amount, just under 10%, was collected through fund raisers organised by groups of citizens, mainly belonging to associations but also to schools, public bodies, political parties, volunteers, municipalities and also two prisons.
An analysis of the number of bank transfers going into the Conto Corrente Solidarietà
week by week shows a decreasing trend over time, with an exception during the period leading up to Christmas. The amount sent in per week followed an initial growth curve, which indicates that the most generous donations, in absolute terms, which came from the business sector, took a couple of weeks to be quantified for technical reasons. For similar reasons, the subsequent downward trend was interrupted during the Christmas week by some peaks in donations. (Table 17.4.3)
and (Figure 17.4.2)
Apart from money, goods were also donated to help those directly involved deal with the initial impact of the emergency and to enable small clearance and clean-up operations to take place. These goods included electrical appliances, furniture and tools, toiletries and also heaters. (Table 17.4.4)
Of the sum collected, 750,000 euro have been allocated to structural repair work on the Pusterla bridge in Vicenza to get it back into working order. The order determining the financing of this repair work on a public site destroyed by the River Bacchiglione also states that the remainder of the overall costs, 2.2 million euro, should be covered by the municipal government of Vicenza. Other solidarity funds, as requested by the Commissioner overseeing the emergency, will also be allocated to "repairing exemplary works of a public nature or of collective use which are of importance to the citizens and to the safety of the region." The restoration of structures of this type will stand as witness over time to the generosity of the hundreds of people, institutions and societies which lent a hand to the people of Veneto in order to bring the region back to normality following the disaster.