In May 2012 a seismic sequence occurred in Northern Italy that was characterized by two main shocks with a magnitude range between 5.5 and 6. These shocks represent a good case study by which to quantify the monetary losses caused by a moderate earthquake in a densely populated and economically well-developed area. The loss estimation accounts for damage to residential buildings, and considers the full effect of all the seismic aftershock events that lasted for nearly a month. The building damage estimation is based on the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS-98) definitions, which depict the effects of an earthquake on built-up areas in terms of observed intensities. Input data sources are the residential building census provided by Istituto Nazionale di Statistica— the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT)— and the official market value of real estate assets, obtained from the Osservatorio del Mercato Immobiliare—the Real Estate Market Observatory (OMI). These data make it possible to quantify the economic losses due to earthquakes, an economic indicator updated yearly. The proposed multidisciplinary method takes advantage of seismic, engineering, and economic data sets, and is able to provide a reasonable after the event losses scenario. Data are not gathered for each single building and the intensity values are not a simple hazard indicator, but, notwithstanding its coarseness, this method ensures both robust and reproducible results. As the local property value is available throughout the Italian territory, the present loss assessment can be effortlessly repeated for any area, and may be quickly reproduced in case of future events, or used for predictive economic estimations.
- Economic losses