Florence mulls refugees for storm clean-up

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A tree in Florence felled by strong winds during the storm. Photo: Claudio Giovanni/AFP
10:35 CEST+02:00
Tuscany's leaders are considering making refugees help clean up Florence after the Tuscan jewel was the battered by a violent storm on Saturday evening.

The storm lasted for two hours, with an entire month's worth of rain falling on the city, causing flooding in many areas.

Water even entered the famous Uffizi art gallery, home to countless works of priceless art. A video of the intense rainfall and flooding can be seen below.

During the tempest, hailstones pounded the city and smashed windows, while strong winds uprooted trees and sent them slamming into buildings - some areas of the city were also hit by a tornado.

Power lines went down, plunging the city into darkness, while train services were stopped for nearly five hours. 

The storm hospitalized 19 people, caused the roof of one building to collapse and has left the city in a state of disrepair.

Mayor Dario Nardella has declared a state of emergency and has met with the region's president, Enrico Rossi, to discuss how to best deal with the clean-up.

“One of the possibilities we're looking at is using the migrants housed in Tuscany for the first stage of the clean up,” a spokesperson from the regional government was quoted as saying in Blitz Quotidiano.

“Specialists are working out if it's feasible or not.”

The first stage of the clean up would likely involve clearing away the broken glass, branches, tiles and mud that currently litter the streets.

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In the past, migrants haven't needed to be put to work but have helped out of their own accord after similar incidents.

Just last month, a dozen migrants repaid the Venice area for its hospitality by rushing to help clear up the debris after a freak tornado tore through Riviera della Brenta.

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