LifestyleItalians are preparing for the worst. Trial evacuations are underway

Italians are preparing for the worst. Trial evacuations are underway

The Campi Flegrei area experienced as many as 1.1 thousand earthquakes this month.
The Campi Flegrei area experienced as many as 1.1 thousand earthquakes this month.
Images source: © GettyImages | Yuriy Brykaylo
ed. NGU

3:31 PM EDT, October 6, 2023

The Italian government is conducting trial evacuations and preparing detailed evacuation plans for hundreds of thousands of residents in the southern part of the country. They want to be as well prepared as possible in case of an eruption of the craters in the Phlegraean Fields near Naples.

On September 27, the strongest earthquake in 40 years was recorded in the Phlegraean Fields (Campi Flegrei). The tremor had a magnitude of 4.2 on the Richter scale and was also felt in Rome and Apulia. The Phlegraean Fields in question are located about 12.4 miles from Naples and form the caldera of a so-called supervolcano. It is a depression formed as a result of a violent explosion in the past, with a diameter of about 8.1 miles. The supervolcano consists of 24 craters.

The government is working at an express pace

After the events that took place at the end of September, experts loudly spoke about the urgent need to prepare detailed evacuation plans for the population living in the threatened areas. This area is relatively densely populated, and even several hundred thousand people live near the supervolcano.

The Italians swiftly took action amidst growing public fears and expert calls, and on Friday, October 6th, the first test evacuations from hospitals took place in case of a strong earthquake in the southern part of the country. Drills will also be conducted on Saturday.

In the Phlegraean Fields lies the city of Pozzuoli, with a population of 80,000 inhabitants, and it's precisely in its region that the greatest fear prevailed after the recent tremors.

The Italians react

Most volcanologists believe that there is no need to raise the alarm, but they agree that prevention is necessary, including the development of evacuation plans and continuous monitoring. On Thursday, October 5th, in the evening, the Italian government adopted a decree allocating 52 million euros for works related to the current, ongoing seismic activity. Detailed evacuation plans, as announced, are expected to be ready within three months.

- Considering that seismic activity has increased in recent months, we currently can't predict when it will end - said Carlo Doglioni, president of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV). The man admitted that the best scenario would be the volcano going dormant again, as happened after a prolonged period of activity in the early 80s of the last century. In the worst case, there could be an eruption similar to that of 1538.

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