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

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


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 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 investigate the demographic perspective of the impact of 1968 Belice and 1980 Irpinia-Basilicata earthquakes 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 disasters’ areas. Demographic data were then matched to macroseismic intensities to outline a new, original analysis which describes the impact of the two seismic disasters with a broad multi-parameter perspective. The results highlight also 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 marginality might have enhanced the impact of disasters by significantly increasing vulnerability.

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How to Cite
De Lucia, M., Benassi, F., Meroni, F., Musacchio, G., Pino, N. A. and Strozza, S. (2020) “Seismic disasters and the demographic perspective: 1968, Belice and 1980, Irpinia-Basilicata (southern Italy) case studies”, Annals of Geophysics, 63(1), p. SE107. doi: 10.4401/ag-8298.
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