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Italy: Government Measures in Response to Earthquakes

(June 4, 2012) On May 29, 2012, northern Italy suffered its second earthquake in a little over a week; in all, the disasters caused the deaths of about 24 people. (Death Toll from Italy Earthquake Rises, CNN (May 30, 2012).)

On May 30, the Italian Council of Ministers proclaimed June 4 to be a national day of mourning for those lost in the quakes. In addition, the state of emergency in two provinces, Reggio Emilia and Rovigo, was extended. (Terremoto in Emilia: i provvedimenti del CdM [Earthquake in Emilia: Measures of the CdM [Council of Ministers]], GOVERNO ITALIANO (last visited May 30, 2012); Consiglio dei Ministri no. 31 (May 30, 2012).)

Other measures taken include the opening of an investigation by local prosecutors into the direct causes of the building collapses that resulted in the fatalities. Given the size of the tremors, the question has been raised as to whether properly built structures should have been able to remain standing. Most of the deaths were of workers in factories that were severely damaged. According to prosecutor Vito Zincani, the modern buildings in the quake area were still erect after the event, and so he favored looking into the construction standards of the factories. (CNN, supra.) In addition to the day of mourning and the state of emergency, the Council of Ministers authorized a small surcharge tax on gasoline, with the money to go toward recovery efforts. (Id.)