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Sad autumn for Liguria

The small borough of Vernazza before the flood in October. Source: http://www.trekguyd.wordpress.com

The view was appalling: water swept away cars, waste bins and dead animals.

People were on the roofs shouting and invoking help.

Throughout the city it was possible to hear the deafening noise of sirens and alarms.

The rain went on without ceasing a single moment.

This is not the new set design of the last catastrophic film of Steven Spielberg, but it is the picture ofLiguria, inItaly, this autumn.

The torrential rain caused floods and uncountable troubles in one of the most beautiful tourist resort, the Cinque Terre, and Genoa.

Cinque Terre (Five Lands) was a famous rugged portion of coast, composed of five villages: Vernazza, Monterosso al Mare, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore, inhabited by fishermen and peasants, and their economy was based on self-sufficiency and tourism.

In 1997 this vacation place became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site

The road allowed us to reach Vernazza only and it was an amazing route through natural surroundings, winding up and down the hills.

Sometimes a little deer or a nice squirrel appeared before you crunching grass or nuts.

This small community represented the traditional Ligurian suburb, nestled among hills.

A church and its square were surrounded with stone arcades and below there were fish and craft shops, then in circular layout the houses of the inhabitants.

A small harbour for the fisher boats and a beautiful beach are situated in front this plaza, where the sea was so crystals clear that it seemed to be in theCaribbean Sea.

A peaceful and sunny place for setting a fairy tale.

Vernazza after the disaster. Source: http://www.trekguyd.wordpress.com

Since October 24th this does not exist anymore, a huge wave of water and mud flooded everything.

Where tourists used to take pictures or sunbathe, there were excavators and heaps of silt.

Craftsmen and fishermen shut down their businesses, “I lost everything,” Aldo Basso, a pizzeria owner, said, “The mud buried my shop. I don’t know how I can go on.”

“We are working without stopping to solve the biggest problems,” Vincenzo Resasco, Major of Vernazza, declared. “We need every kind of aid. It will be hard, but we can go out from this terrible situation.”

After one week, while everybody was hoping a good recovery for this small heavenly place, the two main rivers ofGenoa, Bisagno and Sturla overflowed causing countless damages.

Genoa, founded around 5th – 6th century, is situated in a strategic location.

High hills protect the northern part of the city, while the southern part looks out onto sea; this allowedGenoato be one of the most important harbour cities from the Middle Ages until nowadays.

This predominance allowed the city to be nicknamed “Superba”.

But this time, weather condition defeated the glory of this community.

Every road was flooded, houses transformed in pools in front the desperation of the owners, mud, coming from the hills, invaded everything, manholes exploded under water pressure, people lost everything, their belongings, their cars, their houses and unfortunately some lost their lives.

Million of Euros in damages is the result of a wrong policy based on territorial exploitation, “The ruling class established the wrong relationship with the environment,” Mario Tozzi, famous Italian geologist, claimed to the Italian press, “They allowed building contractor to create edifices near rivers and sometimes above them, without allowing water to flow in good way.”

Mr Gian Vito Graziano, National President of Geologist, voiced the same opinion, “There is a strong necessity to plan with the environment and not to plan against it.”

The reaction of the youngsters was amazing, without thinking twice they organised special voluntary team, “Angels of the mud,” to help people and authorities to settle damages.

“This movement was born spontaneously. We want to help the people,” Simone, a 19-years-old smiling, dirty, tired “Angel of the mud” said proudly, “Many times we were told that doing well is good. We, knowingly or not, are made for doing well.”

This is a little ray of hope for recovering from this disgrace and for deserving again the nicknamed “Superba” of Italy.

The water of two main rivers of Genoa invade the streets. Source: BBC Online

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