Italy: devastating floods

Violent storms have caused flooding and chaos in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, claiming the lives of at least 14 people. Thousands of people had to be evacuated and fields and roads are blocked by water and mud. For commentators, human error is also at play here.

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Causes have been known for years

The flood is clearly man-made, the Süddeutsche Zeitung is convinced:

“Apart from Rome, the capital, this region is considered to be the area with the most concrete in all Italy. This is a consequence of civilisation, something Germans are also familiar with: construction must go ahead at all costs, large fertile areas are sealed up, rivers forced into narrow beds — without heeding the needs of nature. All of this has been known for years — also in Italy, where there has long been talk of disaster prevention through more nature instead of less and less. In Emilia-Romagna, programmes worth billions of euros have been put in place for this purpose, but they have not been implemented due to political disputes. Now the disaster has occurred — causing great shock and dismay.”

Marc Beise
La Stampa (IT) /

The price of incompetence

Italy is incapable of investing in the future, La Stampa complains:

“As a country, we are in danger of proving ourselves incapable of preparing for the future. The difficulties in making the investments that would bear the most fruit in the future seem to be leading the dominant political forces to opt for investing less money, but with immediate effect. ... Europe offers a lot of funds that can boost our economy in the long term and thus prevent Italy from losing further ground in the world. Now we discover not only that we will find it difficult to spend this money, or that we risk using it for works of little use. Now it turns out that we doubt the very idea of investment.”

Stefano Lepri