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Currently showing: Climate/natural disasters > Disaster risk

13 May 13 09:50

A short violent storm spawned large hail and a powerful tornado in the Emilia Romagna region in Northern Italy near Bologna, leaving at least 13 people injured. The twister also caused the destruction of houses, small factories, caravans and containers used as temporary accommodation and offices, after two earthquake tremors in rapid succession struck the same area one year earlier (May 2012). The area is currently trying to recover from such earthquakes, and, although some schools have already been rebuilt, still the great majority of the damaged businesses and factories have not.

Italy is exposed to a variety of natural catastrophe risks. Although earthquakes and floods are the most likely to cause destruction, hail and tornadoes can also cause substantial losses. Despite high exposure to natural catastrophes, average insurance penetration is quite low in Italy. An estimated 44% of private dwellings have a fire insurance policy, but less than 0.5% of such policies have additional natural catastrophes cover.

Public dependency on government support in the wake of disastrous events is at the basis of the chronic under-insurance in Italy. Given the current fiscal situation, however, the state can no longer afford to cover all financial losses arising from the country's high exposure to natural catastrophes, creating a protection gap.

I believe that businesses, governments and societies should increasingly consider more stringent risk prevention and mitigation measures to reduce the loss of lives and properties from earthquakes and other natural catastrophes. In addition, to reduce income losses for households and businesses, increased take-up rates on insurance can be encouraged by governments, insurers and the other public entities.

Huge tornado strikes northern Italy

Injuries reported as tornado leaves trail of destruction in northern Italy.

Category: Climate/natural disasters: Disaster risk, Earthquakes, Floods/storms

Location: Emilia-Romagna, Italy


Isabel Durrer - 13 May 2013, 2:04 p.m.

I wasn't aware that tornado's are possible in Italy! Could they happen as well in Switzerland?

Lucia Bevere - 13 May 2013, 2:21 p.m.

Yes they can happen in Switzerland also.

In fact, no country is entirely free of tornado risk. With the exception of Antarctica, tornado reports have been recorded in all continents. However, it is in the the Tornado Alley of the US (the central plains) where they happen more frequently than anywhere else in the world. The US is also the country where the most violent tornadoes occur.

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