Irpinia Italy 1980 (CAR)

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Event ID
198011231834
Event name
Irpinia
Country
Italy
Region in the country
Irpinia (Campania, Basilicata)
World region
Europe
Epicentral coordinates (long/lat)
POINT(15.31 40.79)
WKT GIS format
GEMECD contributing partner
CAR
Event narrative

On Sunday 23rd November 1980, at 19:34 local time, an earthquake of moment magnitude 6.9 and focal depth of 7 km struck the region of Irpinia, Italy (an area largely coinciding with the Avellino province in the Campania region).

The main shock’s epicentre (40.79°N, 15.31°E) was in the eastern part of the Avellino province near its borders with the Potenza province of the Basilicata region.

Parts of the affected region were damaged by the August 1962 Irpinia and the July 1930 Vulture earthquakes with buildings predating the two events already weakened.

In the USGS EXPO-CAT database it is estimated that during this earthquake 2,916,000 people were exposed to intensity VII or higher, of which around 10% were in rural areas.

The effects of this earthquake were widespread and devastating and it is to this date Italy’s most lethal earthquake since 1915.

The Italian government declared by Law Decree in February 1981 that 36 communes were destroyed (in Avellino, Potenza and Salerno provinces) and an additional 280 communes (in 8 provinces) were gravely or seriously affected by this earthquake.

Date of occurrence (UTC)
1980-11-23
date
Time of occurrence (UTC)
18:34:00
time
Date of occurrence (local)
1980-11-23
date
Time of occurrence (local)
19:34:00
time
Day of the week (local)
Sunday
was it a holiday
Yes
boolean
Magnitude
6.9
Magnitude units
Moment (Mw)
Focal depth
6.9
km
Seismological data: source
USGS
Seismological data: comment

ShakeMap Atlas

Overall impact

The exact number of fatalities for this event is not known (it ranges from 2483 to 4689 in the various international catalogues, as up to 1575 people were initially listed as missing), although the official number in Italy is 3500. In addition around 9500 people were injured.

Worst affected (in terms of lives lost) were the 9 rural communes of Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi, Laviano, Calabritto, Lioni, Conza della Campania, Caposele, Teora, Castelnuovo di Conza and San Mango sul Calore where life loss ranged from 482 to 93 (a combined total of 1976 victims). Most of the loss of life was due to the collapse of old stone masonry houses, although multi-storey reinforced concrete buildings also collapsed.

In Sant’Angelo dei Lombardi 482 people were killed including 27 children in an orphanage, and many more in the town’s collapsed hospital. In Balvano 77 were killed mostly due to the collapse of a medieval church during Sunday evening mass (mostly children and adolescents), while in Naples’s via Stadera, in Poggioreale a 10-storey reinforced concrete apartment building collapsed taking the lives of 52 of its occupants.

Around 20,000 buildings collapsed or were destroyed, and 50,000 were seriously damaged and the long-term homeless population was just over 122,000 people (initially the homeless were estimated at 235,000 two weeks after the event’s occurrence).

The cost of the earthquake according to the Italian government’s final estimate was 18.5 billion US$ (8.5% of Italy’s GDP in 1980). However a decade later it transpired that 40 billion US$ were spent for the reconstruction of the region, but only a quarter of this amount was actually used for the needs of reconstruction, the rest going to the Camorra, on bribes to politicians and to enrich a number of people of the region.

Overview data
Loss: Human Casualty
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People injured
9394
number
People injured: source
Alexander, D. (1981). The earthquake of 23rd November 1980 in Campania and Basilicata, Southern Italy, International Disaster Institute, London.
People injured: comment

8,688 in Campania, 702 in Basilicata and 4 in other regions.


People seriously injured: status
N/A

People killed
3007
number
People killed: source
Alexander, D. (1981). The earthquake of 23rd November 1980 in Campania and Basilicata, Southern Italy, International Disaster Institute, London.
People killed: comment

2,841 in Campania, 163 in Basilicata and 3 in other regions.
The official death toll was later revised to 3,500.

People killed: status
Greater than

People killed due to ground shaking
3007
number
People killed due to ground shaking: source
Alexander, D. (1981). The earthquake of 23rd November 1980 in Campania and Basilicata, Southern Italy, International Disaster Institute, London.
People killed due to ground shaking: comment

2,841 in Campania, 163 in Basilicata and 3 in other regions.
The official death toll was later revised to 3,500.

People killed due to ground shaking: status
Greater than

People dying post catastrophe due to shaking: status
N/A

Loss: Building damage
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Total number of buildings destroyed: status
N/A

Number of buildings damaged: status
N/A

Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking
20000
number
Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: source
Cavazzani A. (1981). Social and Institutional Impact of the 1980 earthquake in Southern Italy: problems and prospects of civil protection.
Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: comment

Destroyed dwellings.

Number of dwellings destroyed by shaking: status
Approximate

Number of dwellings damaged by shaking
80000
number
Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: source
Cavazzani A. (1981). Social and Institutional Impact of the 1980 earthquake in Southern Italy: problems and prospects of civil protection.
Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: comment

50,000 seriously damaged and 30,000 lightly damaged dwellings.

Number of dwellings damaged by shaking: status
Approximate

Loss: Socioeconomic
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People homeless
527000
number
People homeless: source
Alexander, D. (1981). The earthquake of 23rd November 1980 in Campania and Basilicata, Southern Italy, International Disaster Institute, London.
People homeless: comment

As of 27 November 1980 there were 235,455 homeless in Campania and 34,800 in Basilicata regions. The number of homeless fluctuated wildly and on December 1, 1980 it had reached 366,984 in the 7 affected provinces. This was related to the inability to complete the building safety assessments fast enough, as 234 communes had homeless people, while deaths had occurred in 143 of these.

One year after the event, the total of homeless people was actually higher (413,332) due to a huge increase in homelessness in Naples Province (217,322) as building safety assessments continued to find homes in Napoli and elsewhere that were deemed unsafe to occupy.

Inspecting the three different lists provided by Alexander, we conclude that the total number of people thar became homeless (at any given time during the first year) was around 527,000 or nearly 13% of the population registered in 1979 in towns and villages with homeless.

Many of these people were not long-term homeless and were able to reoccupy their homes after the safety inspections were completed, fears of aftershocks subsided and the necessary repairs took place.

The EERI report contains data on the temporary shelter provisions for 170,000 homeless as of December 10, 1980 incl. tents, railcars, trailers, schools, ships etc.

The number of people that lived in homes that had to be rebuilt it was perhaps less than 80,000.

People homeless: status
Approximate

Direct economic loss
18500
million US$
Direct economic loss: source
Italian Government's final estimate
Direct economic loss: comment

Munich Re reports 11760 million US$ overall economic loss, excl. 40 million US$ in insured losses.


Indirect economic loss: status
N/A

Insured loss
40
million US$
Insured loss: source
Munich Re

Demographics
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Total number of buildings: status
N/A