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At least two killed as severe storms hit Italy

The Local/AFP (news@thelocal.it)
The Local/AFP ([email protected])
At least two killed as severe storms hit Italy
Rescuers stand by a stranded truck following deadly floods in near Ravenna, on May 3rd, 2023. (Photo by STRINGER / ANSA / AFP)

Two people have died after 48 hours of almost continuous rain caused flooding in Emilia Romagna, northern Italy, officials confirmed on Wednesday.

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An 80-year-old man was swept away while on his bicycle in Castel Bolognese, between Ravenna and Bologna in the region of Emilia Romagna, regional authorities said.

In nearby Fontanelice, another person died after a house collapsed, a spokesman for the local fire service told AFP.

"We have two confirmed victims, in different situations," he said. He added that searches continued in Fontanelice, as "we cannot rule out the presence of other people in the collapsed house".

More than 450 people were evacuated from the area around Ravenna, while many local roads were closed off and train services were suspended.

Storms have pummelled many parts of the Italian peninsula in recent days, causing rivers to burst their banks in Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Liguria, and Messina on the northeastern tip of Sicily on Wednesday, reported news agency Ansa.

Italian social media users on Wednesday shared pictures of flooding and devastation outside their homes, including images of submerged cars in Emilia Romagna.

 

Italy's Department for Civil Protection on Tuesday afternoon issued its highest-level red alert and medium-level amber alert for different parts of Emilia Romagna, as well as an amber alert for parts of Sicily.

Parts of the following ten regions were placed on a lower-level yellow alert: Abruzzo, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Emilia Romagna, Lazio, Molise, Puglia, Sicily, and Tuscany.

 

Flooding in Emilia Romagna also resulted in the the closure of schools, roads, bridges and train lines in many areas on Wednesday.

Strong winds in Genoa reportedly pushed a tree onto a parked car on Tuesday, while the island of Capri was hit by a blackout. River levels in Milan were also reported to be dangerously high.

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Emilia Romagna and many other parts of northern Italy suffered a severe drought last winter, on top of a record lack of rain last summer that devastated harvests.

The Emilia Romagna region was among the parts of Europe expected to be hit hardest by extreme weather events caused by the climate crisis, according to an international study published in 2022.

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