Seismic disasters and the demographic perspective: 1968, Belice and 1980, Irpinia-Basilicata (southern Italy) case studies

Maddalena De Lucia, Federico Benassi, Fabrizio Meroni, Gemma Musacchio, Nicola Alessandro Pino, Salvatore Strozza

Abstract


One of the challenges on disasters’ understanding is the assessment of impact from a more global perspective, adding to their scenario of injuries, deaths, homeless and economic losses, those effects that are mostly widespread and could last for a long period of time, driving to a serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society. 

Seismic disasters are not just the results of the energy released by the earthquake or buildings’ vulnerability: social, demographic, cultural parameters may instead play a crucial, yet underestimated, role. 

We carried out a pilot study to unfold the demographic perspective of the 1968 Belice and 1980 Irpinia-Basilicata earthquakes’ impact on local communities. The macroseismic MCS intensities were used as a primary parameter upon which the demographic scenario was derived. Population annual growth rates, the ageing index, the child-woman ratio, and the Gini index from the demographic data census of the period 1951-2011 were analyzed to assess population dynamics, age structure evolution and its level of spatial concentration within the areas of the disasters. Demographic data were then matched to macroseismic parameter to outline an original analysis which describes the impact of the two seismic disasters in new ways and with a broad multiparameter perspective.

The results highlight the existence of a general marginality of most affected areas with respect to the processes of population growth, ageing and fertility, as well as for distribution of the regional population, occurring already before the disasters stroke. This might have enhanced its impact by significantly increasing vulnerability.


Keywords


Belice earthquake, Irpinia-Basilicata earthquake, demography

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References


DOI: https://doi.org/10.4401/ag-8298

Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X