1951 THE GREAT FLOOD Comenius project: P.A.C.E. Liceo Scientifico Statale “P.Paleocapa” Staff
The Staff Mary Raule Giulia Ghinatti Alice Pavarin Frida Rizzati Chiara Marsilio Giulia Casalini Prof.ssa Maria Chiara Pavani
Home page ChronologyThe exhibition Photos The reconstituition Bibliography
Saturday 10th November: The Po overcomes the high-water mark in the country side around Rovigo. There are also inondations in Lombardia and near Vercelli. Monday 12th: the inondation arrives at the island of Polesine Camerini. 3000 people are forced to leave.
Tuesday 13th: while it’s raining incessantly and the sea doesn’t receive water, at Occhiobello people work to make the banks higher. Wednesday 14th: the situation makes worse: the Po overcomes 4.30 metres level. At 7 o’clock p.m. the river bursts its banks at Paviole di Canaro, and an hour later at Bosco and Malcantone, near Occhiobello. The Water takes two directions: Fiesso – Pincara and Frassinelle-Polesella. In few hours 156 miles-square are flooded.
Thursday 15th: at night an emergency lorry full of people is cought by the water at Frassinelle: 84 people among women and children die. It will be remembered as “The Death Lorry”. The water presses on the right bank of Canal Bianco. At 2 o’clock p.m. the river bursts the banks at Arquà and the water takes the direction of Adria.
Friday 16th: arrival of the Minister of Council Alcide De Gasperi in Rovigo; water reaches the chief town and floods the south suburb. In the evening the city is evacuated. Saturday 17th: the wave arrives at Adria and floods it, while Rovigo is defended by embankment of Adigetto which resists.
Sunday 18th: the President of Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi, arrives in Rovigo to give consolation to the population. While the evacuation of Adria is decided, Cavarzere is flooded. Monday 19th: water swells Ceresolo canal which menaces to flood Rovigo. Tuesday 20th: Ceresolo banks cut save Rovigo.
Wednesday 21st: another wave of spate of the River Po is arriving but the ebb to the sea is stopped by south-east wind. Thursday 22nd: the wave of spate decreases and waters retreat begins.
The five section of the exhibition Men and land: it is the description of an upset landscape and people’s deep pain. There are some unpublished images taken by the photo-amateur Alessandro Casalini (from Rovigo). These photos were given by Casalini’s family and the Publifoto of Milano.
Flooded Adria: views of the city with photos by Masarà and Lux. Rovigo lapped by the waters: it shows the capital city flooded in some suburban quarters (photos: A.Ferrari, Lux, Zennaro; Colection Borella, State Archives of Rovigo).
Documents and Evidences:it testifies those tragic moments through witnesses’ experience (State Archivies, Accademia dei Concordi, city libraries, other publications). The rebuilding: (Publifoto Milano); it shows Polesine’s way towards the rebirth put to a sever test by the adverse nature.
Photos (Photo Chinaglia) On 14th november the river Po broke the banks at Paviole di Canaro making a leak 250 m long. Later on it broke at Bosco and Malcantone destroying a half kilometre of the embankment. Through these leaks 8 thousand millions m 3 of water flew, by means of a huge hole (6000 m 3 of water for second).
(Photo Chinaglia) The “Death Lorry” at Frassinelle
(Publifoto, Milano) An other photo of the “Death Lorry”.
(Publifoto, Milano) A family is forced to left home by the flood.
(Photo Masarà and Lux) On 16th November the water reached Rovigo. The centre of the city saved itself from the water because of its higher position compared to the suburbs.
(Photo Masarà and Lux). Tha Army helps population in every way.
(Photo Masrà and Lux). During the night between 15th and 16th November, the Country around Adria was flooded by the waters.
(Photo Masarà and Lux). The river reached the centre of Adria and the level of the water arrived to the first floor of the houses.
(Publifoto, Milano) An other view of the disaster.
(Publifoto, Milano) The difficult work of the rebuilding.
(Publifoto, Milano) Everyone works to rebuild the Polesine.
The reconstituition During the flood, about 200,000 people left their houses. In the same time Army, Navy and Aeronautics, Fire police, Red Cross, Scouts and Volontaries began their activity of aid and 2,000 boatmen collaborated with them.
The Great Flood made worse the difficult economic situation of the towns. There were devastating effects for agriculture, trade, handicrafts and for the modest industrial activity. Then the Government organised the “Rebuilding Work” and this aid-action lasted only six months, thanks to the extraordinary honesty of the Commisionary, Giuseppe Brusasca, and the determination of people.
Works began from the closing of the breaches in the embankment, to the reclamation of the fields, then the agriculture and industry were restored; at last railway and road lines were reopened. From the ’51 to the ’66 drainage work continued: the embankment were reinforced and the idraulic device was rebuild in cosequence of other overflowing of the river Po.
Nowaday the closing of the methane-wells, existing in that period, and the creation, in 60’s, of the “Economic and social development society” supported the economic develpoment, in particular the industry.
International solidarity (in £) Afghanistan503,000 Albania36,062,300 Algeria1,212,458 Arabia Saudita5,704,680 Argentina39,000,000 Australia14,147,000 Austria31,310,000 Belgium436,349,875 Bolivia220,896