During the construction of the Vaiont Dam in the Italian Alps, various surveys showed that the chosen site was geologically unstable, especially the peak called Monte Toc, which rose next to the future reservoir. The construction company SADE, which would also own the dam, covered up the findings. They also ignored warning signs such as deep cracks on the side of Monte Toc that appeared when the reservoir started to fill. Villagers nearby requested evacuation after the cracks appeared, but were ignored.

On 9 October 1963, approximately 270 million cubic meters of rock from the side of Monte Toc collapsed into the reservoir, generating a gigantic wave that overtopped the dam and completely destroyed Longarone and five nearby villages. A second wave hit the towns of Erto and Casso. Almost 2,000 people were killed. Only one of SADE's directors was sent to prison, for just over a year.


© Fundación Nueva Cultura del Agua 2009