You may have heard about the terrible flooding that killed six people in Genova three years ago. Poor Genova! Again the Bisagno River overflowed and went crashing through the city’s streets, tossing cars around like matchsticks, leaving a trail of mud, debris, ruined businesses and homes, and at least one person dead.
Other parts of Liguria were hard hit by the fierce electrical storms, which went on for hours and knocked out power to many zones of Genova. In our own small area of Rapallo we received some damage. Above us a landslide closed the road that leads to the Valley behind us. Below us trees fell down into the road, damaging a guard rail. Enough were quickly removed to open up one narrow lane for traffic. Seems like very small patooties compared to what’s happened in Genova.
More rain fell this morning (Saturday, Oct. 11) with more forecast for this afternoon and tomorrow.
Liguria is a narrow bean-shaped region that hugs the Mediterranean, with high mountains that tumble right down to the sea. The mountains all drain into stream beds which, for most of the year hold only a trickle of water. Workers were mowing the weeds from our own San Francesco torrente just a couple of months ago. This is what it looked like today:
It always amazes us when we open our windows or go outside after a big storm and hear the roar of falling water that fills the valley. We were lucky because the water stayed within its banks. Genova, which is also built on the thin strip of land between mountains and sea, had worse luck.
“It’s a mass of problems together. You have houses built in the wrong places, inadequate water channelling systems, poor planning and administration,” Carlo Malgarotto, president of the council in the region of Liguria, told Reuters.
Rapallo did a bit of planning a few years ago. To prevent debris from catching on a bridge that might then back up the Boate River, they decided to rebuild it so that it could be raised in times of flood. Why? There is a new cathedral being finished upstream and a large underground parking area is part of the project. The goal was to keep the parking safe and dry. They were able to raise it yesterday, no doubt to the satisfaction of all involved in the project.
It’s a bit of an inconvenience for people who would like to use that bridge. As you can see below, the water was not really high enough to reach the bridge at all – but better safe than sorry.
Unfortunately Genova has not had as good luck with the plans they made after the 2011 flood. According to Reuters: “Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti said in a statement that 35 million euros ($44 million) had been earmarked to reinforce flood defences around the Bisagno but the funds had been blocked by a legal dispute.”
Sadly that sounds exactly like Italy. It doesn’t seem to be a country that has embraced the idea of citizens co-operating for the common good. Rather, people are much more likely to be watching out for their own interests and trying to see what they can gain personally from any project. I guess that makes Italy like a lot of other places.
Meanwhile, more rain is forecast. Fingers crossed for Genova, because they already have their hands full.
Addendum: We visited the Port on Sunday and found the aftermath of the storm: flotsam, jetsam and a lot of driftwood that had already been pulled out of the water. There was so much rubbish among the boats that the water was invisible.