Articles | Volume 44
20 Jul 2017
 | 20 Jul 2017

Effects of damaging hydrogeological events on people throughout 15 years in a Mediterranean region

Luigi Aceto, A. Aurora Pasqua, and Olga Petrucci

Abstract. Damaging Hydrogeological Events (DHE) are defined as rainy periods during which landslides and floods can damage people. The paper investigated the effects of DHE on people living in Calabria (southern Italy) in the period 2000–2014, using data coming from the systematic survey of regional newspapers. Data about fatalities, people injured and people involved (not killed neither hurt) were stored in the database named PEOPLE, made of three sections: (1) event identification, (2) victim-event interaction, (3) effects on people. The outcomes highlighted vulnerability factors related to gender and age: males were killed more frequently (75 %) than females (25 %), and fatalities were older (average age 49 years) than injured (40.1 years) and involved people (40.5 years). The average ages of females killed (67.5 years), injured (43.4 years) and involved (44.6 years) were higher than the same values assessed for males, maybe indicating that younger females tended to be more cautious than same-age males, while older females showed an intrinsic greater vulnerability. Involved people were younger than injured people and fatalities, perhaps because younger people show greater promptness to react in dangerous situations. In the study region, floods caused more fatalities (67.9 %), injured (55 %) and involved people (55.3 %) than landslides. Fatalities and injuries mainly occurred outdoor, especially along roads, and the most dangerous dynamic was to be dragged by flood, causing the majority of fatalities (71.4 %). These outcomes can be used to strengthen the strategies aimed at saving people, and to customise warning campaigns according to the local risk features and people's behaviour. The results can improve the understanding of the potential impacts of geo-hydrological hazards on the population and can increase risk awareness among both administrators and citizens.