The fires that devastated Sicily in 2023, from Rome no to the national emergency. Schifani is tough, Musumeci summons Curcio and Cocina

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By John

The fibrillations continue in the center-right both at a national and Sicilian level. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the decision of the Civil Protection, which depends on the Sicilian minister Nello MusumeciIn the deny the national state of emergency in Sicily after last summer’s fires which caused 6 deaths and damage of around 150 million. This decision surprised the Sicilian Region which did not like it. “We do not agree and find the rejection of the request for a state of emergency for the fires which have hit our island since 23 July to be unjustified”. Salvatore Cocina, head of the regional civil protection, does not mince words to express all his opposition to the measure. With a note signed by the head of the national civil protection, Fabrizio Curcioin fact, it is underlined that “while understanding the inconvenience caused as a result of the events, they will have to be addressed within the scope of the powers and responsibilities attributed by current legislation to the Administrations and Bodies ordinarily responsible”. According to Curcio “on the basis of the documentation provided and the results of the technical inspections, despite finding numerous situations of discomfort, mainly temporary, and specific damage, it has been assessed that the events are not such as to justify the adoption of measures that transcend the operational and financial capabilities of the competent bodies on an ordinary basis“.

Cocina’s reply is clear: “The rejection today, in January, also appears untimely as the first request from the Region is dated 28 July, the day after the end of the fires, then integrated by us on 31 August and 4 October with the ordinances and eviction measures of the municipalities. A good three months have passed since our last note. On the merits – he further observes -, the National Civil Protection points out, among other things, to demonstrate that it was not a national emergency, that there was no activation of volunteering outside the region, but this does not appear to correspond to reality since, already in the spring, for precautionary purposes, we had asked for the intervention of volunteers from other regions”. Furthermore, the head of the regional civil protection continues, “we had the contribution of only two regions in Sicily as the others were busy with the flood in Emilia Romagna”.

For this reason “we believe it is unfair to justify the rejection of our national emergency request with the formal lack of a sufficient number of evacuation orders that we requested from the municipalities. In 2021, with a similar damage scenario, all this documentation was not requested and produced and the emergency was declared by the Council of Ministers. Of course, it was declared together with other regions of the South while in this situation the emergency hit only Sicily heavily”. Cocina therefore reiterates that “we will technically contest this evaluation and ask that it be re-evaluated, in the belief that there must always be a fair comparison and a substantial and not just formal collaboration between the institutions to protect citizens”. He therefore trusts that “with the national civil protection we will find a solution, without prejudice to the fact that the Region has done and will do its part for economic contributions to damaged citizens”.

Schifani: “It’s not the state I recognize myself in”

“A State that denies citizens compensation for damage in the public domain, suffered due to the faults or events of others, and does so on the basis of procedural quibbles not applied before, is not the State I identify with. A State that fails to principle of loyal collaboration of its various levels, as provided for in Article 120 of the Constitution, is not the State in which I identify”. This was stated by the president of the Sicilian Region, Renato Schifani, following the failure of the national civil protection department to recognize the state of emergency due to the fires that hit the island last July. “We will fight – continues Schifani – this unjust provision in every administrative, judicial, institutional and political forum”.
“But I assure the Sicilians damaged by the summer fires that if the central State wants to abandon them, the Region led by me will not do so, because the protection of the community of a people and its social stability constitute a sacred and indispensable principle. I am preparing to convene an extraordinary session of the government council for tomorrow to make the necessary decisions”, concludes Schifani.

Musumeci summons the two Civil Protections

«I have summoned the directors of the national and regional Civil Protection departments to Rome on Wednesday for a review of the practice relating to the summer fires in Sicily, in an attempt to find a possible solution – replies the Minister for Civil Protection Musumeci -. The two directors, Fabrizio Curcio and Salvo Cocina, have been discussing the topic since August, but without finding an agreement – the Roman offices tell me – due to a lack of documentation from the Region. However, the situation regarding other disasters is different: in 2023 alone, in fact, resources of around 94 million euros were allocated to the island by Rome. The flaw lies in the relevant provision of the Civil Protection Code, which must be reviewed, together with other adjustments. We are working on it and we will change it soon.”

Pd, “The Meloni government discriminates against the region”

«Already in October we denounced the discrimination carried out by the Meloni Government towards Sicily and the failure to recognize the state of calamity following the fires. With months of delay, today we witness Musumeci’s confession and the usual intolerable buck-passing. The truth is that Sicily and the Sicilians have no space in the government’s agenda. Since July only press releases and promises of intervention but no concrete action. Indeed, the Meloni government repeatedly rejected our proposals to intervene financially. What a difference from the right diligence to repair the damage in other regions.” Thus in a note the PD parliamentarians Anthony Barbagallo and Antonio Nicita. «Only today, that is, 6 months after the fires, Musumeci convenes a table between the offices of Rome and Palermo – they add – Only today, we repeat 6 months after the fires, Schifani is indignant and remembers that he is in the government of Sicily. It is to be hoped that, once he wakes up, the governor will not grant an encore regarding the story of the theft of the FSC funds and that, after the bellicose declarations, he will not comply obediently to the wishes of Rome and the central government. Meanwhile, Sicily has been waiting for six months. They are waiting for the damaged companies, they are waiting for the municipalities, they are waiting for the families who have lost their homes.”