Elly Schlein and Stefano Bonaccini
In Veneto, with double the rain, nothing happened. Crumbled roads, mass landslides, flooded cities, collapsed ridges. Interview with Paolo Zanca, connoisseur of the Emilia Romagna administrative machinery: “Those who know the mechanisms of the Region know that there is something wrong here”.
“You can’t ignore it. Anyone who knows the mechanisms of the Region knows that there is something wrong here, explanations must be given”. Paolo Zanca speaks in bursts, an old socialist enrolled in Action, with a long career behind him and a fine connoisseur of the Emilia-Romagna administrative machinery. He hasn’t given interviews for years. But after the disastrous flood we got him to talk to Affaritaliani.
If in 2018 715 mm of rain fell in Veneto in a few hours and nothing happened and here with 300 mm it was a disaster, does it mean something or not? If out of 23 rivers in full flood, 22 overflow, if half of the lamination basins don’t work and there isn’t even one in Romagna, do the responsibilities have names and surnames or not?
Budrio Bologna the road collapses
“This is a premise given by the facts. My heart opened when I saw the photos of the kids who have rolled up their sleeves, shoveling the mud and who occasionally stop and sing ‘Romagna mia’. It is to them, to the dead, to those who have lost so much, everything that those who commanded public bodies owe an explanation. Now it’s time to save people but this time you can’t ignore it”
I feel shaken…
“A slice of my kinship is in Meldola, Forlì and Cesena. Do you know another place in the world where there is a big earthquake and instead of dying in bed you die in the factory? Emilia Romagna is like this and it’s like those guys who represent the best part of Emilia-Romagna. Out of respect for these citizens, can we know what has been done in recent years? Why did it all come down and happen with something predictable? Yes, there was an extraordinary rain, but what works have they done to contain the waters when they knew what could happen? It doesn’t seem like a bad question to me.”
But the story of the big media says that it is the fault of climate change, of the God of rain, of the unpredictable, of the force of nature that rebels… everyone is responsible, no one is responsible…
“If today the mountain collapses and the plain is flooded it is because there is a lack of the continuous care of the territories and waters that was done in the past and was above all given by the widespread presence of farmers who are fewer and fewer. The Po Valley farmers were better off than the Dutch because they made a huge area reclaimed from the marshes livable. We forgot about it”
What has been done with maintenance in recent years, to see all this happen?
“The institutions must be asked even if no one wants and will want to do it. Let’s look at Veneto: it is practically a region floating on water. The Serenissima Venetian Republic has moved the course of the rivers over the centuries, precisely to regulate them. We have always known that the Po Valley is at risk of flooding, it is a construction of the Po and of man. But we are not faced with unpredictable events, we also know it from the technologies we have. However, in the final accounts of the institutions it appears that all such activities are delegated to the regional Civil Protection which is an external body. The citizens and the regional council know nothing of what has been done nor can they know it”
The national secretary of the Pd Elly Schlein said that Italy has not come to terms with its hydrogeological fragility. But Schlein, from 2020 to 2022, had the delegation for prevention and adaptation to climate change in the Emilia Romagna Region and does he moralize the Italians? Bonaccini has been president of the Region since 2014…
“From Schlein I would like to have an assessment of what he has done in these two years. You have to tell me what you did … we did these jobs, in this situation, we spent a lot and for these reasons. I don’t give a damn about morals: I want to know, piece by piece, what has been done. I want the same numbers and data from Bonaccini. People are saved and this is urgent, but then they have to talk, they can’t hide behind a finger or friendly media.”
In Veneto due to double rain there were no floods thanks to the containment basins that were not built in Emilia Romagna, there is something evident…
“Has this Region, since it existed, ever been governed by a different majority? It is history that answers, not me. If there are problems, they are problems of those who governed. Then it must also be said that the opposition would have the task of control and surveillance. Are there any of you who have ever heard the opposition in the Region raise these issues?”
In Bologna we saw Mayor Lepore posting photos of his shoes in the mud on social media
“Yes, nice. I would like to ask: who was the mayor of Bologna who allowed construction to be built on the bed of the Ravone stream which is overflowing, flooding everything? Huh? Maybe we’d find out that those permits were issued by major Bolognese mayors. The legendary ones that everyone has on their lips. I resumed traveling around the Region and I was, for example, in Reggio Emilia where I found myself thinking about the Vetto dam. I heard about it forty years ago and it was said that there had been talk of doing it for at least twenty years. On the Bolognese mountain there is the famous theme of the Castrola reservoir. How many years has it been talked about? Another 50 years? Maybe they think that safeguarding the environment means letting nature take its course but they haven’t understood that on Earth, the environment and man have always interacted with each other, with man trying to give an environmental order”
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