Continuing the series of contributions on the Mediterranean basin, begun in Futuribles in 2011, this article by Yvette Veyret reminds us of the extent to which, despite the attractive image traditionally associated with the region, it is subject to various kinds of risks and not always well prepared to deal with them. First, the geological risks – earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions and landslides – are far from negligible, as various natural disasters that have occurred in the past have shown. Yvette Veyret reminds us of the nature, potential intensity and very serious consequences which might ensue in a region that is distinctly more densely populated and urbanized today than it was only a few decades ago. Second, the region remains highly exposed to climatic risks, beginning with large-scale flooding in autumn, which may ravage entire villages within a few hours. The spectacular forest fires we see each year in the south of France, in Corsica or in Greece complete the picture.
The Mediterranean region is one of the areas most exposed to natural risks, but these thankfully manifest themselves on a generally more moderate scale than elsewhere. Nevertheless, as this article shows, the actions that could reduce the scope of such risks through prevention, protection and the informing of the public remain inadequate or ill-understood, or clash with other interests and are unable decisively to reduce the region’s vulnerability. Lastly, as is often the case, it is the poorest groups that are the most exposed and natural dangers serve, in this regard, as indicators of social and spatial inequalities.