2: The Isolation of the Island: The Social Impasse in Ischia after the Earthquake and Tourism Crises (2017–22)

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Ischia is a volcanic island that became a popular tourist destination in the 20th century. However, this caused a sharp increase in anthropogenic pressure. No earthquakes were recorded for over 130 years, until in August 2017 an earthquake shook the municipality of Casamicciola, causing two deaths and thousands of displaced persons. Five years later, despite announcements by politicians, reconstruction has not begun, 1,400 people are still displaced, and at least 400 have changed residence. The institutional machine has had three ‘extraordinary commissioners’ and has produced many studies and plans, but many citizens have decided to reconstruct without the support of the government. The long delay in reconstruction has caused a general disillusionment, so that some believe that the ‘phantom reconstruction’ is like a ‘second death’. The crisis of the tourism sector since 2020 is added to this, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine (with the collapse of international tourism, especially from Russia) and a landslide that killed 12 people on 26 November 2022. The ‘latency time’ that always follows a disaster is further subjected to further slackening from a bureaucratic system that, to guarantee control and equity, not only generates uncertainty towards the future but also fragments local communities.

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