from our correspondent
SENIGALLIA (An) «You cannot live like this, you cannot be besieged by the fear that the river will overwhelm everything. But what did they do with the money that was supposed to be used to secure the Misa, to avoid the flood? And why are the warning messages totally unreliable, what are Gardaland watching from the satellites? ».
Lara Dates talk to two other ladies in Piazza Simoncelli, in the center of Senigallia. It is not yet 11 in the morning, it seems to be in an old film by De Sica, when a voice from above warned «at 6 pm the universal judgment begins».
Here in Senigallia they fear the flood, but also very powerful gusts of wind, there is again the danger of bad weather after the devastation two days earlier. The thought goes to the lack of alert on Thursday, the carabinieri have already acquired the documents from the Marche Region to understand why it was only “yellow alert”, it is investigated for manslaughter against unknown persons and culpable flooding. We also try to understand why the safety, maintenance and even simple cleaning works of the Misa river and other waterways have not been carried out. With the one found yesterday, 11 bodies have been recovered. And there are still two missing, including the eight-year-old boy. The bad weather then arrived even further south yesterday, in Abruzzo, in Pescara: the Prefecture explained that there were three injured, all in a reserved prognosis.
But let’s go back to the square of Senigallia, in the morning of tension waiting for the new wave of bad weather. The traders repeat: “Why hasn’t the work been done to make the river safe?” Even the mayor Massimo Olivetti attacks: “They didn’t listen to us.” All around hundreds, with shovels, try to remove the mud, the shopkeepers metaphorically have their hands in their hair, more pragmatically they use them to save what can be saved. Another lady, Laura Boni, says: «I saw that the river was advancing on Thursday from the window, I’m on the first floor. Nobody warned me. Who knows how it will go this time ».
Living in fear that the Misa River will overflow again. It happens in Senigallia, but also in the more hill towns already brought to their knees on Thursday like Ostra and Barbara. Smartphones light up, is the message from the mayor of Senigallia. The sky is getting blacker, the wind more and more powerful, he lets the population know: «It is reiterated to go up to the upper floors, not to go out. All commercial activities in the flooded area must close ».
Shortly after noon, Senigallia – which until Wednesday was a vibrant tourist destination with people by the sea between a Spritz and a fried fish – turns into a ghostly city. There are no longer the boys shoveling the mud, the bars that had tried to reopen in the morning lower their shutters. The street and the squares are dark and without a soul, with the rain becoming more and more intense. At times it is a deluge that makes you fear the worst; the wind, at more than one hundred kilometers per hour, seems to be able to overturn the cars.
The trees fall, even on some machines, the planters are overturned. At the Senigallia fire brigade department, Luca Cari, national head of communication, who unfortunately has followed many disasters and disasters, scans the sky and observes: “What worries is that the river, the Misa, is unable to vent at sea, because of the opposite currents ». This can be a problem. At Coc, the center of the Municipality where emergency interventions are managed, the faces of civil protection operators and firefighters are tense. “The level of alert and concern is maximum – says the mayor – that’s why I asked everyone not to leave the house”. Around 2 o’clock the bad news, very bad indeed.
“The Misa overflowed close to the hamlet of Borgo Molino”. The crews of the firefighters leave at full speed, the divers are also sent there ready to intervene with the boats in case of need. But the alarm turns out to be disproportionate, the Misa is holding, a sigh of relief is breathed. «With the wind so strong – explains a civil protection expert – there is a risk that other trees collapse, end up in the river and act as a plug, obstructing its course, aggravating the situation. We are told that the weather will not improve until 5pm and it is raining a lot in the more hilly villages ». Not a good sign. On Thursday the succession of the tragedy was this: first the water bomb in the hills of Pesarese, then in the small towns before Ancona, the rivers swelled and in Senigallia the mud invaded many areas..
From Barbara, a hill town, which in this story has counted two dead and two missing, there is no good news. In the middle of the afternoon the mayor Riccardo Pasqualini says: «We suffered the damage in a small hamlet on the plain, but the bulk of the town is on the hill and on Thursday he was saved. But now it is raining very hard and we are almost isolated. All the bridges leading to the center have been made unusable, only one road is still usable and we have reserved it for emergency and service vehicles ». Traveling by car is dangerous, the local police of Senigallia close several streets, while the Red Cross and firefighters collect requests for help, especially from the elderly. There is a 96 year old man who is alone, you have to bring him something to eat; another who is ill and must be accompanied to the hospital; a family is isolated and does not know how to do it.
And yet, when the universal judgment really seems to be coming, the sky suddenly opens up, becomes less gloomy, gives itself the sun. At 6pm it seems that everything that happened a few hours earlier was just a dream, indeed a nightmare. Senigallia returns to being a placid tourist town at the end of September, where in the hotels the waiters spoil older guests and prepare their lunch bags at the end of breakfast.
A restaurateur, whose daughter found herself with the car submerged and therefore to be thrown away on Thursday evening, tells us: “What infuriates me and makes me unbearable any politician who presents himself, of any color, is that we are now passing through a flood to the other. 1976, 2014, now 2022. Was it really not possible to secure the Misa River? Do we really have to be condemned to live in constant fear of losing everything, houses, businesses, cars, sometimes unfortunately even life? ”. In the evening, the head of Civil Protection, Fabrizio Curcio, signs the ordinance governing the first urgent interventions for the provinces of Ancona and Pesaro-Urbino. The president of the Marche Region, Francesco Acquaroli, is appointed commissioner. For the emergency. But here in Senigallia they get angry: «It is not possible to intervene only in emergencies. We are tired of emergencies ».