Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
10 May 2010
 | 10 May 2010

Risk management on an alluvial fan: a case study of the 2008 debris-flow event at Villar Pellice (Piedmont, N-W Italy)

M. Arattano, R. Conte, L. Franzi, D. Giordan, A. Lazzari, and F. Luino

Abstract. In the Piedmont Region (North-Western Italy), the regional authorities manage debris flow risk by following the ideal sequence of steps that are generally pursued in land planning and civil protection activities. Complex procedures and methods are elaborated and widely discussed with politicians, economists and the general public. On the contrary, in emergency situations, civil protection agencies generally prefer the adoption of simple and flexible criteria. In this paper, a catastrophic debris flow event, that occurred in 2008 in Villar Pellice, is described in this perspective, after an analysis of the triggering rainfalls and of the effects on human life and properties. The availability of a series of personal accounts coming from people who witnessed the occurrences before, during and after the event has allowed us to analyse, in detail, the dynamics of the event. Thanks to these accounts, it has been possible to propose new guidelines for the planning of the emergency activities in areas that are potentially prone to similar impulsive phenomena.