The whole of Italy has been hit by severe weather in recent weeks. The Liguria, Piedmont, Tuscany, Veneto, Calabria, Sicily, Puglia and Basilicata regions were hit by severe flooding, with rivers bursting their banks. In addition to causing extensive damage, the flooding has brought with it serious social and economic problems.
A large number of people have been left homeless, entire villages have been evacuated and landslides and mudslides have closed road and rail links.
Areas which rely on farming and tourism as their main sources of income are counting the social and economic costs of the flooding. Outstanding natural features and landscapes that have received international recognition have been totally destroyed.
1. Does the Commission intend to mobilise the European Union Solidarity Fund with a view to enabling the affected areas to return to normal as soon as possible. If so, how?
2. In the light of its communication entitled ‘Towards a stronger European disaster response’, how does it intend to improve prevention and preparedness policies and promote training and exchange schemes for experts, as well as cooperation projects to try out new disaster risk reduction approaches?