Co-ops step in to support Emilia Romagna and Marche communities affected by floods

The sector is mobilising funds and supplies after the worst flooding to affect Italy in a century

Italian co-ops have mobilised funding to support Emilia Romagna and Marche after torrential rains caused devastating floods in these regions, which led to the death of several people, with another left 36,000 homeless.

The first floods occurred between 2 and 3 May with a second round of more severe floods on 16–17 May. In some areas, almost half the annual average of rain fell in only 36 hours, leading to 400 landslides. Italy is particularly vulnerable to floods due to 94% of its municipalities being at risk of landslides, flooding or coastal erosion. In 2021 it suffered two thirds of Europe’s landslides.

One of the affected regions, Emilia Romagna, is renowned around the world for its co-operative economy, which accounts for 30% of the region’s GDP and involves two thirds of the population as members.

In response to the catastrophe, consumer co-ops across Italy announced they have allocated €1m to support the affected regions. The co-ops have also launched an in-store campaign to encourage customers and members to donate to its relief fund.

The funds will be used for a reconstruction intervention in agreement with the authorities concerned. Their employees are also working pro bono to support some of the affected stores belonging to Coop Alleanza 3.0 and Coop Reno stores.

Co-operators wishing to contribute can donate to the account opened by Coop Italia at Unicredit (IBAN: IT 94 T 02008 05364 000106764648 reason for payment “Raccolta Fondi Flood Romagna and Marche). The funds raised will be destined for a specific reconstruction intervention in agreement with the local authorities concerned.

Cecop, the European confederation of industrial and service cooperatives, invited its members to contribute to two similar fundraisers were launched by Italian apexes Legacoop Nazionale and Confcooperative Romagna.

Legacoop Nazionale asks those who wish to do so to contribute via a specific account at Unicredit in the name of Legacoop Nazionale at the account number (IBAN) IT64T0200805038000106601844 along with the message: “Solidarietà Emilia Romagna” 

“The funds will be allocated, after identifying the priority areas for intervention with local administrators, to projects that will allow, in particular, the restoration of public facilities compromised by the flooding, to facilitate a return to normality as quickly as possible” said Cecop.

Confcooperative Romagna also created an ad hoc account number (IBAN) IT25G0854223700000000731028 where funds can be transferred along with the message: “Confcooperative Romagna per le cooperatrici e i cooperatori alluvionati”. 

Co-operative insurer Unipol Group, along with its subsidiary UnipolSai Assicurazioni Spa, is also working to support the victims of the floods. Unipol has launched a structured, integrated plan of interventions to try to help people affected by the recent floods along with a toll-free number for policyholders.

Furthermore, the insurer has also acquired a number of Starlink terminals which offer rescuers, essential services, such as hospitals, and the public better access to the internet. By 21 May over 150 Starlink kits had arrived in Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna region to support rescue and recovery effort, with more on the way.

Unipol chair Carlo Cimbri said: “When a tragedy like this happens, I think we all have a duty to contribute. In addition to supporting its policyholders, Unipol is also making every effort to actively help the communities affected.”

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla said: “SpaceX, Starlink and Tesla are happy to be of use in any way to help Italy and the people affected by the flooding”. The terminals will be distributed to the affected areas in accordance with advice from the Civil Protection Agency and the Emilia-Romagna Region.