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After the first "alert" given in Italy, following the earthquake in the Garfagnana area on 23 January 1985, the then Minister for the Coordination of Civil Protection Hon. Zamberletti, considered by all to be the "founding father" of the Civil Protection in Italy, went to Garfagnana to personally thank the population for disciplined following his instructions and allowing him to continue his initiative later.


This video proposes the integral intervention held by the Town Hall of Pieve Fosciana on the afternoon of February 1, 1985. After this visit to Pieve Fosciana, Senator Giuseppe Zamberletti, as he had promised on that occasion to the then Mayor Tognarelli and President Cavilli, of the CAV of Pieve Fosciana sent some contributions and various equipment, which in the following years allowed the volunteer group to continue improving and above all to specialize in solidarity and help to the whole population.



Udine, May 6TH  2016.  40th anniversary of the earthquake that hit friuli on may  6th 1976, Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Council was held in an extraordinary session in Udine in the presence of the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. Speech of Giuseppe Zamberletti




Considered the father of the Italian Civil Protection, who died at the age of 85 on January 26th. In addition to the memory, it can be used to consider the state of the current situation of emergency intervention and the culture of prevention in Italy in the light of the last four decades of disasters.

His figure has been closely linked with the Italian Civil Protection.

Zamberletti  was elected to the Chamber in 1968 and immediately committed himself to the civil defense front, working on a bill that

since 1970 dealt with "rules on the relief of populations affected by disasters" (law n. 996).


However, when two earthquakes with significant effects occurred, in Friuli in 1976 (two aftershocks, May 6 and September 15) and in Campania and Basilicata, on November 23, 1980, it was discovered that this law still did not have the implementing regulations and therefore was ineffective.

The indictment that President Pertini launched in a television appeal after visiting the areas of Irpinia and Basilicata that had not been reached promptly by the rescue, was harsh, and the President wondered why this law had become bogged down in Parliament.

Zamberletti was appointed extraordinary commissioner to manage the emergency in Friuli, in 1976. In that case two factors positively influenced the management of the emergency: the presence in the area of ​​numerous army barracks, with many conscripts who were immediately employed in the rescue of survivors and in the clearing of rubble, and the fact that Friuli was a region with a special status, a status that allowed it to have greater freedom and autonomy in making decisions. The evacuated were hosted in the accommodation facilities on the Adriatic coast and could commute daily to return to their destroyed countries and follow the operations. In the wake of the good experience of Friuli, Zamberletti was called into question by the Forlani government even after the earthquake of November 23, 1980.

The size of the catastrophe was greater, the affected area much larger as well as the mass of evacuated people to assist. In this case, the rescue was not rapid, the large army convoys moved badly in the access roads to the Campania and Lucanian Apennines, also taking into account that many roads and bridges had collapsed. To arrive at the appointment of Zamberletti, moreover, it was necessary to wait 48 hours; the earthquake had occurred on Sunday, the Council of Ministers met on Monday and only on Tuesday, on November 25, Zamberletti was operational and took note of the situation in the earthquake zones.

The months following the November shock in Irpinia were months of convulsive activity, with many critical issues to manage and numerous pressures. Zamberletti tried to apply the same organizational model of Friuli, proposing the "plan S", as an eviction, to move the evacuated to the coast. But the earthquake victims did not accept this plan, given the distance from the coastal villages.

Then Zamberletti started a long and methodical phase of listening to the earthquake victims communities, establishing a direct relationship with the mayors but not refusing even the confrontation with the assemblies of the earthquake victims and the volunteers, who had created the "popular committees". The idea that unlocked the initial confusion was to twin each municipality earthquake to a region, province or metropolitan city, but also to other nations, in order to rationalize the interventions of the volunteers who were arriving conspicuously in the affected areas bringing large quantities of basic necessities. In addition, to each mayor, the commissioner joined an army general to coordinate the excavations, the removal of corpses and rubble, the placement of tent cities and field canteens.


His commitment in Irpinia and his vast experience in the field earned him his appointment as minister without portfolio in 1982

Although by now the need for a Civil Protection law was a fact, the approval process was long and bumpy and only materialized in 1992, due to a series of problems related to the institutional role (the overlapping of functions between the minister for Civil Protection and the Minister of the Interior).

Prevention was one of Zamberletti's points, combined with a mature awareness that prevention is impossible without a substantial financial commitment, without a political foresight but above all without the awareness and education towards a culture of prevention shared by and with citizens. Also the idea of ​​giving weight and strength to volunteering by structuring it and integrating it fully into the national civil protection system, in the long run it has proved to be a happy and effective intuition. It is therefore necessary to keep in mind, as a fundamental lesson, the definition of Civil Protection that Zamberletti expressed: "Civil Protection is every municipality that becomes a cornerstone, every village that becomes an active element of civil protection and not just a centralized, wonderful, thaumaturgical organization, that falls on the territory to save people when they are in danger. It is the people who help themselves to protect themselves, and to preserve their lives and protect their possessions " .


To do this, therefore, it is necessary to face the structural causes that led to the emergency and the disaster, considering the multiplicity of political, social, cultural and economic aspects and actively involving the different local actors in the whole process.

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