At least five people died in a storm in some Italian regions. Thousands had to be brought to safety. And there is no end in sight to the heavy rains.
In the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche, several people have died as a result of the severe flooding caused by heavy rainfall. At least five people died, confirmed Italy’s Minister for Civil Protection, Nello Musumeci. In addition, the search for a missing person continues.
According to the Italian Fire Service, the provinces of Ravenna, Forlì-Cesena, Rimini and Bologna on the Adriatic coast have been hardest hit by the floods – particularly the cities of Faenza, Cesena and Forlì. In the entire Emilia-Romagna region alone, 14 rivers burst their banks. Regional President Antonio Mazzeo warned that the situation in neighboring Tuscany was also critical due to the heavy rains of the past few days.
In Cesena, a farmer was swept away in his house by the masses of water and mud, in Forli a man who is said to have been on the ground floor of his house died. According to the ANSA news agency, the body of a German woman washed up on the beach at Cesenatico north of Rimini. However, it has not yet been finally clarified how her death is connected to the storm.
“Province in large parts not to recognize”
Video recordings distributed by the fire brigade show how entire streets are under water in cities and how mudslides block roads. Fields now resemble seascapes.
It was difficult hours for the entire region, said Michele De Pascale, Mayor of the city of Ravenna: “It was perhaps the worst night in the recent history of Emilia-Romagna.” There is devastating damage in many cities, “due to the water masses, my province of Ravenna is largely unrecognizable”.
About 5,000 people have been brought to safety so far
Since the start of the severe storm on Tuesday, the fire brigade has already been deployed on more than 600 missions. Around 400 emergency services are still deployed in the affected regions, as are members of the Italian mountain rescue service, which specializes in rescue operations in flooded areas.
Among other things, the emergency services freed people from their apartments with inflatable boats or took them off the roofs of houses with helicopters. The red alert still applies to large parts of Emilia-Romagna, emphasized the civil protection assessor for the region, Titti Postiglione. On the slopes of the low mountain range, there is the highest level of vigilance, because there is a possibility of mudslides. “And of course that’s a big risk,” warned Postiglione.
So far, around 5,000 residents have had to be brought to safety from the flooded regions, said Italy’s Civil Defense Minister Nello Musumeci. But there could also be more.
Ten million euros in emergency aid approved
As Musumeci said in a radio interview, the Italian government approved as a first step that ten million euros would be released for emergency aid. Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi is said to have already left for the affected regions to get an idea of the situation on the ground, reported ARD correspondent Jörg Seisselberg.
Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also assured the people in the flooded areas of support and “full solidarity”. “The government is closely following the development of events and stands ready to take the necessary relief measures,” she wrote on Twitter.
Formula 1 race in Imola canceled
The Formula 1 race planned for Sunday in Imola has been cancelled. The racing series announced that it was not safe to hold the Grand Prix in Italy under the current circumstances. “It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and security forces at this difficult time,” it said after consultations between the Formula 1 leadership and the responsible ministries, the regional administration and the Italian motorsport association.
Already at the beginning of the month dead after storm
Civil defense had already issued a high-level warning of floods and landslides for the Emilia-Romagna region on Monday. It is expected to continue raining in the region for the next few hours. The authorities are currently warning against using the Adriatic highway between Bologna and Rimini due to the storm. The train service between Bologna and Ancona was temporarily suspended.
In the region in northern Italy, there had already been heavy rainfall at the beginning of May, and rivers had burst their banks. Several people lost their lives.
floods also in Croatia
Floods have also caused damage in parts of Croatia after days of rain. The water was knee high in the streets of the village of Hrvatska Kostajnica, 90 kilometers south of Zagreb, the news portal “jutarnji.hr” reported.
The Una, a tributary of the Sava, burst its banks as a result of the rains of the past few days. Civil defense and volunteers built sandbag dams. The authorities in the 2,700-inhabitant community declared a state of emergency.
There were other floods in the small town of Obrovac near Zadar in the Dalmatian hinterland. The old town there was already flooded on Monday after the Zrmanja river burst its banks. The water level there dropped again on Tuesday, according to media reports. More rain is forecast for the next few days.
With information from Jörg Seisselberg, Rome
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