04/05/2010 - Italy should enforce tougher restrictions on building in areas that risk earthquakes or forest fires and impose tougher sanctions on violations in the face of a growing threat of natural disasters due to climate change, according to a new OECD report presented in Rome by the OECD Secretary-General, with the participation of Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi and Italian Undersecretary of State Bertolaso (Read the OECD Secretary-General's speech).
Italy is more exposed to a broad range of natural hazards, from volcanic eruptions and landslides to floods and forest fires, than most other European countries, the report notes. In one recent case, an earthquake in the Abruzzo region of Italy on 6 April 2009 caused 309 deaths, with reconstruction costs estimated at EUR 12 billion.
Italy’s National Civil Protection System (NCPS), which is charged with handling such disasters, responded quickly and effectively to the Abruzzo earthquake, says the report. It demonstrated its ability to evaluate rapidly and accurately the severity of the incident and respond appropriately, speeding up the deployment of rescuers.
However, Italy can do better and the report makes a series of recommendations for action:
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