Floods in Italy leave at least 14 dead

Heavy rains and flooding in recent days in the Emilia Romagna region in northeastern Italy have caused at least 14 deaths and forced the evacuation of 15,000 people as the red alert continues and a cyclone is expected to arrive will hit much of the country over the weekend.

Emergency teams continue to rescue people who have been trapped in their homes or in isolated towns, since more than 500 roads remain cut off by the overflow of 23 rivers in less than 48 hours.

“There is no memory of an event like this in the past,” said the head of Civil Protection, Fabrizio Curcio, at a press conference on Friday.

According to Civil Protectionthere are more than 5,000 troops working but “the persistence and amount of water falling has been so constant” that the work is becoming extremely difficult and the drainage network has been completely damaged.

“The phenomena have overlapped and the result is this. You have to wait for the volumes to drop, rebuild the drainage channels and then carry out improvement actionsCurcio added.

The authorities calculate that in 36 hours, between Tuesday and Wednesday. Six months of water fell in Emilia Romagna due to the intense rains, which stopped this Friday but, according to forecasts, will return over the weekend.

ALSO ALERT IN PIEDMONT AND PREVENTION IN ROME

In addition, the local press has warned of the arrival of a new cyclone that will affect a large part of Italy and whose first effects will be felt in the west (Piedmont is on orange alert). but they will cause rains throughout the entire country, including in the south (Sicily and Calabria).

In fact, the sudden rise in the level of the Tiber river, hundreds of kilometers from the north, has led the authorities in Rome to close the access to its docks and suspend boat trips.

VILLAGES FLOODED AT 80% AND 90%

At the moment, the region most affected by the storm is Emilia Romagna, where at least 8,000 people are sleeping in shelters and a dozen municipalities in the province of Ravenna, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, have been completely flooded, 80% or 90%.

One of the hardest-hit towns is Sant’Agata sul Santerno, where the water levels exceed 3 and 4 meters and the majority of its inhabitants, around 3,000, remain confined or have been evacuated, although in some cases help did not arrive on time. because on Wednesday the bodies of two elderly people who drowned in their home were located there.

In addition, rescue operations are complex in the area, where the electrical network is damaged and dozens of regional roads are impassable due to landslides.

AGRICULTURE AND TOURISM ALSO AFFECTED

The damage also has serious implications for agriculture and tourism, just weeks before the start of the summer season.

“Even the coast is partly injured, but I know the tour operators of the Riviera, they are tough people who never give up. I hope a wave of solidarity also from tourism“, assured the president of Emilia Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini, through tears on Friday afternoon.

The president also called for refunds of up to 100% for farmers and ranchers who have seen their crops destroyed or have had to let their livestock die where floodwaters have prevented swift action.

Among farmers and employees of industries and cooperatives are at least 50,000 jobs at stake in the Emilia Romagna countryside, according to estimates by the largest agricultural and livestock association in Italy, Coldiretti, which has estimated that more than 5,000 farms are flooded.

For now, the Government, which has convened an extraordinary Council of Ministers next Tuesday, will allocate 20 million euros in immediate assistance and has suspended tax obligations and bill payments to all those affected.

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