The 2012 Emilia earthquake

Il 20 Maggio 2012 an earthquake of magnitude 5.8 struck the region of Emilia-Romagna. The seismic event was constituted by a series of tremors located in the seismic district of the Emilian Po Valley, mainly in the provinces of Modena, Ferrara, Mantua, Reggio Emilia, Bologna and Rovigo.

The earthquake in Emilia of 20 May 2012
The 2012 Emilia earthquake it was a seismic event consisting of a series of tremors located in the Emilia region, but also felt in a very large area including all of Central-Northern Italy and parts of Switzerland, Slovenia, Croatia, Austria, southern France - Eastern and Southern Germany. Significant precursor phenomena occurred in January, but the first strongest quake, of magnitude 5.8 was recorded on 20 Maggio 2012 at 04:03 Italian time, with the epicenter in the municipality of Finale Emilia (MO).

Rubble from the 2012 Emilia earthquake, Ferrara

How long did the 2012 earthquake last?
After the shocks of the 20 Maggio 2012, others occurred, including one on 29 Maggio 2012 at 09:00. The new quake, of magnitude 5.8, was felt throughout northern Italy, creating panic and inconvenience in many cities such as Ferrara, Modena, Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Mantua and Rovigo with its epicenter located in the area between Mirandola, Medolla and San Felice. on the Panaro. Three other significant tremors with a magnitude between 9 and 00 followed at 4.9:5.5. Even the 31 Maggio 2012 further earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 occurred. A further seismic swarm with tremors of varying magnitude (of lesser magnitude Richter scale) was unleashed on the affected area, culminating in a quake of magnitude 5.1, felt throughout Northern Italy on June 3 2012 at 21:20 Italian with the epicenter in Novi di Modena.

What were the damages caused by the 2012 Emilia earthquake?
The two main seismic events caused a total of 27 victims (22 in the collapses, three for heart attack or illness and two for injuries sustained), mostly employees of destroyed companies. Every 4th June the victims of the earthquake are remembered, as a day of national mourning.

2012 Emilia earthquake Mercalli scale

THEmaximum intensity of earthquakes, estimated as the cumulation of the effects of the sequence, was equal to VIII, according to European macroseismic scale (EMS-98). The earthquakes of 20 and 29 May 2012 they have caused heavy damage to rural and industrial buildings, to water channeling works, as well as to buildings, historical monuments and old civil buildings in stone or pebbles. Most of the monuments and places of artistic interest included in a large area, between Mantua, Modena and Ferrara, up to some municipalities in the province of Bologna, were seriously damaged or partially collapsed. In some cases, recently built residential buildings were also damaged; such damage is often related to episodes of liquefaction of the sands.

The damage caused by the earthquake that has been estimated, in the report sent to the EU Commission, amounts to a total of 13 billion and 273 million euros.

Rubble from the 2012 Emilia earthquake.

Solidarity actions after the 2012 Emilia earthquake
On May 22, 2012, the government announced the allocation of fifty million euros for the damage caused by the earthquake. It was established, with the law decree n. 74/2012, on Fund for the reconstruction of the areas affected by the earthquake of 20-29 May 2012 for a minimum amount of 9,26 billion, of which:

  • 6 billion made available by Cassa Depositi e Prestiti for the granting of 135-year subsidized loans to citizens of the seismic crater who want to carry out repairs, restoration or reconstruction of residential buildings and for productive use. The loans are guaranteed and paid by the state according to law 2012/XNUMX
  • 2 billion raised between 2013 and 2014 through reductions in expenditure items for the purchase of goods and services, for the functioning of the public administration as required by annexes 1 and 2 of law 225/92. The fund was divided by granting 95% of the sums to the Emilia-Romagna region, 4,5% to the Lombardy region and 0,5% to the Veneto region.
  • 670 million granted by the European Union solidarity fund;
  • 500 million raised through an increase in excise duties on fuels equal to 2 euro cents per liter;
  • 91 million raised from the reduction of public contributions for expenses incurred by political parties and movements - Law no. 96/12

From 29 May 2012, an SMS service was activated that allowed the donation of 2 euros, by sending a message to the number 45500, to raise funds for the victims affected by the earthquake. With solidarity SMS it was possible to raise the figure of 15,1 million euros.

Reconstruction works of the 2012 Emilia earthquake
Following the important seismic events, the most ancient buildings, built with building methods far from the current anti-seismic standards, suffered the most serious damage. The tremors of the earthquake acted on the entire structure of these buildings, causing superficial and structural injuries, dangerous for the protection of cultural heritage but also for the safety of the community that found itself living a few steps from buildings that are no longer stable.

Emilia earthquake, rubble, 2012

A Ferrara, as in other Emilian cities, a building intervention at 360 degrees for the recovery of the damaged parts and strengthened how much it was resistant to the shocks, securing the building and protecting it from other possible seismic events.

Remembering events like that of the 2012 earthquake in Emilia it is imperative to understand the importance of seismic prevention and seismic culture: safe reconstructions and adjustments, technologies and anti-seismic systems they are inevitable to protect buildings, homes and the lives of those who live there and prevent tragedies like this from happening again.


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