Section 5: Key Actions within 6 Months of Disaster
Participatory vulnerability analysis (PVA) project in Italy – L’Aquila earthquake
Following the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake in Italy, which killed 308 people and displaced thousands for several months, there was much criticism about the government’s broken promises in the reconstruction process. In 2010 ActionAid Italy produced a documentary called ‘L’Aquila a pezzi’ (Broken L’Aquila) that called on the government to account for its actions, delays and lack of accountability. This documentary was widely distributed online on national newspapers and among independent media.
Two years after the earthquake the needs of the affected communities were still vast, with thousands of people displaced, an empty and unpopulated city centre and social services still not restored. In 2011, ActionAid Italy established its fi rst domestic LRP and after first contact in town it designed a pilot programme for the Pettino borough of L’Aquila, one of the worst affected areas with 15,000 inhabitants. Many of the most active citizens had tried to participate in the reconstruction process since 2009, but the lack of information, transparency in tenders for reconstruction and bureaucratic delays had caused great frustration.
Using ActionAid’s participatory vulnerability analysis technique, adapted for the Italian context, affected communities in L’Aquila were supported to identify critical gaps in social and physical infrastructure and advocate for better disaster resilience measures. Through the analysis, communities are able to speak out against factors that affect their wellbeing and advocate for early warning systems and risk mitigation measures. The pilot project has not yet shown its full potential in terms of the changes the community can bring to its territory, but has laid the basis for a broader and longer term project that can be developed in L’Aquila.
The community is now part of a network of actors including local organisations, the Italian Agency for Emergency Response (AGIRE) and academics. The network aims to develop a vulnerability toolkit that can also be used by other towns and cities that are affected by disasters.
ActionAid Italy established its own LRPs in 2011 and is now active in nine towns. The main focus areas include women’s rights, right to food and accountability. ActionAid Italy is now looking for funds to implement a longer-term PVA project in L’Aquila.