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Emergency preparedness with satellite radar data: The collapse of an embankment section of the River Arno in Florence

A section of the embankment of the River Arno in central Florence collapsed on May 26, sending part of the road and several parked cars into a newly formed ditch, fortunately without harming any people. The hole is about 200m in length and 7m across.

Following the incident, TRE ALTAMIRA was requested to provide a satellite analysis of the last 2 years to verify whether ground displacement had occurred in the area prior to the catastrophic event.

Satellite measurements were analysed by the Earth Science Department of the University of Florence, representing an expertise centre for the Italian Civil Protection Department. The analysis was then delivered to the Technical Committee that has been managing the emergency.

TRE ALTAMIRA has processed over 200 satellite images since the event, quickly providing results to Authorities. As the satellite analysis has not highlighted any significant ground motion over the area, they were able to discard some initial scenarios regarding the collapse.

Figure 1: SqueeSARâ„¢ information over the River Arno area where the incident occurred, using middle-resolution satellite images.

Figure 2: A snapshot of SqueeSARâ„¢ measurements points over the collapsed area, using high-resolution satellite images.