Disaster of Vajont, the challenge of man to nature

Disaster of Vajont, the challenge of man to nature

A challenge to nature that in the distant 9 October 1963 led to the complete destruction of 5 towns in the Belluno area with more than 2000 deaths

On 9 October, 49 years old, the Vajont disaster struck Longarone and the surrounding villages. Upstream, above Longarone, was one of the largest dams in the world, the pride of post-war industrial Italy. In the night of October 63, 260 million cubic meters of rock detach from the wall of Monte Toc and sink into the waters of the artificial lake created by the dam. This huge mass of earth and rock makes the lake "explode" creating a wave of mud that will overwhelm the villages below (and beyond) with all its strength, literally wiping out Longarone and its hamlets, disintegrating everything along the way.


the town of Longarone razed to the ground

the town of Longarone razed to the ground

After only 2 minutes the city of Longarone no longer exists. Standing only the bell tower and a few trees, houses, schools, businesses and everything else is leveled by a brutal force, a disaster similar to that left by the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Aid does not arrive immediately, the position of the valley makes it difficult to reach it and first aid arrives only thanks to the US troops stationed in Vicenza equipped with helicopters that the Italian army did not have.
Arrived on the spot in the night they find in front of them the most total despair and terror. Nature has taken over the entire valley, leaving behind it death and destruction, the survivors wander aimlessly without any means of subsistence and with clothes soaked in mud. After the Americans come the Italian military troops starting the real rescue operation.
Numerous media and volunteers come from the other surrounding valleys and from the plain. But the landscape is the same for everyone, a wasteland of destruction, a natural (but not quite) catastrophe that had left well behind. 2000 dead.

The pain gives way to anger and the numerous protests of the locals come to mind, especially the older ones, who have long said that there could not be built such a large dam, that the ground was not suitable. But the people's voices were always denied by geological reports of the great Doctors of the SADE who pushed from Venice to carry out the project.
The Vajont disaster awakens consciences also of those who knew that valley by hearsay or did not know it at all. So we investigate and it turns out that the disaster was perpetrated by human hand, which almost as a challenge to nature brought the water level to values ​​higher than the allowed limit by making the water filter along the veins of the rock. Day after day the water "ate" the walls of these mountains, the result of prehistoric landslides, digging more and more a breaking line, non-existent according to scholars but evident according to the inhabitants.

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This challenge ended tragically on the night of October 9, 1963 with the tragic victory of nature over man. Today the signs of the disaster are still visible and the dam is still there, intact.

It is difficult to add words to what happened that night, difficult to convey the idea of ​​such a great destruction.

We therefore leave you to the words of Mauro Corona and Marco Paolini who have been able to tell and bring back to our times the history and events that took place 49 years ago.

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