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  • Author or Editor: Giovanni Gugg x
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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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Vesuvius is one of the most worrying volcanoes in the world, because it is located in a vast urbanized area with millions of inhabitants. After its last eruption in 1944, volcanologists believe that Vesuvius is in a dormant phase of unknown duration. To prepare for future eruptions, the Italian government issued a ‘National Emergency Plan’ in 1995, which divided the exposed area into several danger zones (red, yellow, and blue). The red zone now includes the 24 municipalities closest to the volcano and potentially affected by volcanic material. The yellow zone includes 63 municipalities across three provinces (Naples, Salerno and Avellino) and over 1 million people. While the political agenda focuses on the red zone, it dedicates less attention to the yellow zone, which is considered, wrongly, less dangerous. This chapter focuses on the Agro Nocerino-Sarnese, an area in the yellow zone comprising 16 municipalities and around 300,000 inhabitants. Historically agricultural, this area has radically changed since the Second World War, in a combination of limited restrictions on urban development and scarce prevention and preparedness measures. Therefore, the yellow zone continues to grow by pursuing chaotic patterns of urban expansion, which prevent proper risk planning.

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