Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vajont Dam Disaster in Longarone, Italy - October 9, 1963

Longarone - Vajont

Prima e dopo il disastro della notte del 9-10-1963

Fruher u. nach dem Ungluck vom 9-10-1963

Before and after the disaster in the night at 9-10-1963

unused postcard

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The Vajont Dam is a disused dam, completed in 1959 in the valley of the Vajont river under Monte Toc Mountain, 100 km north of Venice, Italy.

On 9 October 1963 at 10:39 pm, the combination of 'drawing-down the reservoir' and heavy rains triggered a landslide of about 260 million m³ of forest, earth, and rock, which fell into the reservoir at up to 110 km per hour (68 mph). The resulting displacement of water caused 50 million m³ of water to over-top the dam in a 250 meter (820 foot) high wave. Despite this, the dam's structure was largely undamaged — the top meter or so of masonry was washed away, but the basic structure remained intact.

The flooding in the Piave valley destroyed the villages of Longarone, Pirago, Rivalta, Villanova and Fa√®, killing around 2000 people and turning the land below into a flat plain of mud.  Many small villages in the territory of Erto e Casso and the village of Codissago, near Castellavazzo, were largely wrecked. Estimates of the dead range from 1900 to 2500 people, and about 350 families lost all members. Most of the survivors had lost relatives and friends along with their homes and belongings.

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