Update of the National Emergency Plan for Vesuvius


New red zone

The "red zone" is the area for which preventive evacuation is the only measure of protecting citizens. Unlike the one identified in the 2001 Plan, the new red zone includes, besides an area exposed to the invasion of pyroclastic flows, defined as "red zone 1", also an area subject to high risk of collapse of the roofs of buildings due to the accumulation of pyroclastic deposits (volcanic ash and lapilli), defined as the "red zone two".

Studies at the base of the redefinition of the red zone. The Working Group of the National Commission, which was responsible for the update of the Vesuvius Emergency Plan, has redefined the extent of the area exposed to pyroclastic flows, highlighting the necessity that the limits of the new red zone were expanded compared to the current Plan. The Major Risks Committee-Volcanic risk Sector, called by the Civil Protection Department to express an opinion on the matter, has compared the area identified in the document with the most recent studies on the topic. In particular, the results of the Working Group were compared with the line that identifies the area subject to average frequency of invasion by pyroclastic flows outlined in the 2010 scientific publication of Gurioli et al. "Pyroclastic flow hazard assessment at Somma Vesuvius based on geological record”, deeming the studies broadly consistent. For the identification of areas exposed to a high risk of collapse of the building roofs, the results of the Project SPeeD were also considered , as they combined the analysis of load curves of the deposit of ash fallout with vulnerability data of the building rooftops.

List of municipalities in the red zone. As a result, the new red zone has been expanded, compared to that provided for in the 2001 Plan, including the territories of 25 municipalities. In addition to the 18 already indicated in the red zone (Boscoreale, Boscotrecase, Cercola, Ercolano, Massa di Somma, Ottaviano, Pollena Trocchia, Pompei, Portici, Sant’Anastasia, San Giorgio a Cremano, San Sebastiano al Vesuvio, San Giuseppe Vesuviano, Somma Vesuviana, Terzigno, Torre Annunziata, Torre del Greco, Trecase), the following have been entirely included: Palma Campania, Poggiomarino, San Gennaro Vesuviano and Scafati and, only partially, the districts of Barra, Ponticelli and San Giovanni a Teduccio of the Municipality of Naples, the Municipality of Nola and the enclave of Pomigliano d’Arco in the Municipality of Sant’Anastasia.

Redefinition of the boundaries of the new red zone. In the first updated version of the National Emergency Plan outlined by the Department, the 24 municipalities and 3 districts of Naples were entirely included in the "red zone", taking as reference the administrative boundaries. The decision of the Department to consider the municipal limits - or of the municipality, in the case of Naples - is linked to the need to integrate, at a later stage, detailed operational information of the territory. For this reason, also in view of sharing and collaboration between all those involved in national planning, each municipality, in agreement with Campania Region, was asked to propose for the their territories, new boundaries of the "red zone" , as long as they proved to be able to handle partial evacuations of their communities. To carry out the new borders, the Department put down two conditions: that the boundaries were not smaller than the ones of the “red zone 1”, which is the one subject to the fall of pyroclastic flows; that the Municipalities in the red zone 2 could demonstrate to have reinforced the building rooftops exposed to the fall of pyroclastic deposits.

However, the Department deems appropriate that the 18 municipalities already listed in the old Plan keep the administrative boundaries as perimeter of the red zone, due to the achieved awareness over the years by such communities to live in an area exposed to a high volcanic risk and the effort carried out by some local boards to adopt proper prevention measures.

Three municipalities have proposed new boundaries: the City of Naples, the City of Nola and Pomigliano d'Arco. For all other municipalities, administrative boundaries are considered as boundaries of the new red zone. The proposed changes were accepted by the Regional Council with the July 26, 2013 deliberation, and subsequently approved on 14 February 2014 in the Prime Minister's Directive, which was received by the Joint Conference on 6 February 2014.

Planning of operating structures and components of the National Service. As provided for by the 14 February 2014 directive, on 31 March 2015 the decree of the Head of Department of civil protection that contains the operating instructions that the National Service's components and structures should follow to update their respective emergency plans in case of evacuation of the red zone. In fact, only when the criteria and the general strategies will be applied in the planning of all involved parties, the National Emergency Plan can become a truly operational tool. 

Specifically, the directions are divided into six different sections. After a part describing the general strategy that all National Service will need to follow in the operational stages corresponding to levels of alert attention, pre-alarm and alarm, the document contains the addresses for internal, sectorial and communication planning. In particular:
- internal planning provide for procedures and actions for the protection of human resources and tools that each component or operational structure has in the red zone
- planning of the sector will ensure the response of components and operational structures at various operational stages and the integration and harmonization of the actions of the various government departments and agencies to achieve the overall objectives
- communication plans provide a schedule of information and communication activities of components and operational structures at different stages.

The document defines also the necessary elements for the Campania Region, local authorities concerned and to the regions and autonomous provinces to develop plans to evacuate the population from the red zone and transfer and welcome them. Specific indications are given also to the Region Campania and local authorities to upgrade their emergency planning. One chapter is dedicated to the planning and general coordination for which the Civil Protection Department is in charge, while the last part of the document provides elements for ensuring the continuity of local authorities.

Latest update: 31 August 2018

Tables and charts referred to in the document “Eruptive scenarios and alert levels” are not attached because they are too heavy. The Department can provide them to any institution upon request.


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