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Authors: Cugliari, Lorenzo* 
Crescimbene, Massimo* 
La Longa, Federica* 
Cerase, Andrea* 
Amato, Alessandro* 
Cerbara, Loredana* 
Title: Tsunami risk perception in central and southern Italy
Journal: Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences 
Series/Report no.: /22 (2022)
Publisher: Egu-Copernicus
Issue Date: 22-Dec-2022
DOI: 10.5194/nhess-22-4119-2022
Keywords: Tsunami; Risk Perception; Communication; Italy; Mediterranean; Coastal Hazards; Sociology; Emergency Communication; Risk Management; Tsunami Ready
Subject Classification05.03. Educational, History of Science, Public Issues 
Abstract: The Tsunami Alert Centre of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (CAT-INGV) has been promoting, since 2018, the study of tsunami risk perception in Italy. Between 2018 and 2021 a semi-structured questionnaire on the perception of tsunami risk was administered to a sample of 5842 citizens residing in 450 Italian coastal municipalities, representative of more than 12 million people. The survey was conducted with the computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) methodology, described in Cerase et al. (2019), who published the results of the first pilot survey (about 1000 interviews). The large sample and the socio-demographic stratification give an excellent representation of the resident population in the surveyed Italian coastal municipalities. Moreover, in 2021 an optimized version of the questionnaire was also administered via Telepanel (a tool for collecting proportional and representative opinions of citizens) that was representative of the Italian population and included 1500 people distributed throughout the country. In this work we present the main results of the three survey phases, with a comparison among the eight surveyed regions and between the coastal regions and some coastal metropolitan cities involved in the investigations (Rome, Naples, Bari, Reggio Calabria, and Catania). Data analysis reveals heterogeneous and generally low tsunami risk perception. Some seaside populations, in fact, show a good perception of tsunami risk, while others, such as in Apulia and Molise, reveal a lower perception, most likely due to the long time elapsed since the last event and lack of memory. We do not find relevant differences related to the socio-demographic characteristics (age, gender) of the sample, whereas the education degree appears to affect people's perception. The survey shows that the respondents' predominant source of information on tsunamis is the television and other media sources (such as newspapers, books, films, internet), while the official sources (e.g., civil protection, local authorities, universities and research institutes) do not contribute significantly. Also, we find an interesting difference in people's understanding of the words tsunami and maremoto, the local term commonly used in Italy until the 2004 Sumatra–Andaman event, which should be taken into account in scientific and risk communication. The Telepanel survey, based on a nationwide sample, highlights a lower level of tsunami risk perception in comparison to average risk perception levels found in the coastal-municipality sample. Our results are being used to drive our communication strategy aimed at reducing tsunami risk in Italy, to activate dissemination and educational programs (data driven), to fill the data gap on tsunami risk perception in the North-Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and connected seas (NEAM) area, and to implement multilevel civil protection actions (national and local, top-down and bottom-up). Not least, outputs can address a better development of the UNESCO Tsunami Ready program in Italy.
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