Articles | Volume 10, issue 1
19 Jan 2010
 | 19 Jan 2010

A reflection about the social and technological aspects in flood risk management – the case of the Italian Civil Protection

M. del Carmen Llasat and F. Siccardi

Abstract. The right of a person to be protected from natural hazards is a characteristic of the social and economical development of the society. This paper is a contribution to the reflection about the role of Civil Protection organizations in a modern society. The paper is based in the inaugural conference made by the authors on the 9th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Storms. Two major issues are considered. The first one is sociological; the Civil Protection organizations and the responsible administration of the land use planning should be perceived as reliable as possible, in order to get consensus on the restrictions they pose, temporary or definitely, on the individual free use of the territory as well as in the entire warning system. The second one is technological: in order to be reliable they have to issue timely alert and warning to the population at large, but such alarms should be as "true" as possible. With this aim, the paper summarizes the historical evolution of the risk assessment, starting from the original concept of "hazard", introducing the concepts of "scenario of event" and "scenario of risk" and ending with a discussion about the uncertainties and limits of the most advanced and efficient tools to predict, to forecast and to observe the ground effects affecting people and their properties. The discussion is centred in the case of heavy rains and flood events in the North-West of Mediterranean Region.