Extreme climate events, ENEA identifies the areas most at risk in Italy

Extreme climate events ENEA identifies the areas most at risk

(Finance) – One study AENEAS published in the magazine Safety in Extreme Environment made it possible to identify the areas of our country most at risk of mortality extreme climate events, which from 2003 to 2020 caused a total of 378 deaths, of which 321 due to landslides and avalanches, 28 due to storms and 29 due to floods. The regions with the highest number of deaths and municipalities involved were found Trentino Alto Adige (73 deaths and 44 municipalities), Lombardy (55 deaths and 44 municipalities), Sicily (35 deaths and 10 municipalities), Piedmont (34 deaths and 28 municipalities), Veneto (29 deaths and 23 municipalities) e Abruzzo (24 deaths and 12 municipalities), with a high number of municipalities at risk also found in Emilia-Romagna (12), Calabria (10) and Liguria (10). Among the high-risk regions there is also Val d’Aosta with 8 deaths, a high number if we take into account the total inhabitants.
“Mortality is the only health indicator immediately available for all Italian municipalities and the ENEA Epidemiological Data Bank allows studies to be carried out on the entire national territory using mortality by cause as an impact indicator,” he explains Raffaella Birdsresearcher at the ENEA Health and Environment Laboratory and co-author of the study together with her colleague Claudia Dalmastri.

The study also shows that approximately 50% of 247 Italian municipalities with at least one death consists of mountain or sparsely populated centres, where the risk of mortality associated with extreme meteorological-hydrogeological events could be connected to their intrinsic fragility and the difficulties of rescue interventions. “On a demographic level, the victims were 297 men and 81 women. The reason for this disparity between the sexes could be linked, at least in part, to different lifestyles, the activities carried out, the home-work journeys and the different times spent outdoors”, underlines Claudia Dalmastri.

In our country, over 90% of municipalities and over 8 million inhabitants I am at risk due to extreme climatic events, in particular landslides (1.3 million inhabitants) and floods (6.9 million inhabitants). From January to May 2023, 122 extreme weather events occurred compared to 52 during the same period in 2022 (+135%)[2] and the most affected regions were Emilia-Romagna, Sicily, Piedmont, Lazio, Lombardy, Tuscany. All these areas, except Lazio, were also identified as at risk in the ENEA study.

“Extreme weather events are increasing frequency And intensity due to climate change, with dramatic consequences on territories and populations, in particular on the over 65s, whose percentage in Italy has increased by 24% in 20 years. Knowing the areas at highest risk also for associated mortality therefore becomes fundamental for defining priority intervention actions, allocating economic resources, establishing alert measures and undertaking prevention and mitigation actions to protect the territory and its inhabitants”, he concludes Raffaella Uccelli.