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UK issues travel warning as floods and airport strikes hit Italy

UK issues travel warning as floods and airport strikes hit Italy
Flooded streets in the town of Lugo, near Ravenna, on May 18, 2023, after heavy rains caused flooding across Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region. (Photo by Federico SCOPPA / AFP)

The British government has issued a travel warning for Italy following severe flooding in the Emilia Romagna region, urging people to check news reports before they travel and follow instructions from local authorities.

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“Severe flooding is currently affecting the region of Emilia-Romagna, including Bologna, Forli-Cesena and Ravenna,” the UK government’s website stated on Thursday evening.

“It is advised to stay away from riverbanks and green areas affected by flooding. Traffic, including between Bologna and Rimini, is likely to be affected.”

READ ALSO: 'Shocking disaster': Death toll rises to 13 after floods in northern Italy

The UK government advised anyone travelling to Italy to “check with your tour operator or accommodation provider before you travel” and “follow the instructions of local authorities”.

It advised travellers to check the website of Italy’s Civil Protection Department for further information.

Severe flooding has killed 13 people in the north-eastern Italian region of Emilia Romagna and some 13,000 residents were evacuated across a vast area.

Trains were cancelled and around 2,000 roads in the region were closed amid the flooding, while tens of thousands of homes were left without power.

Aerial view of a flooded area in Emilia Romagna

Flooding in Italy's northern Emilia Romagna region on Thursday, May 18th. Photo by Alessandro SERRANO / AFP

The tourist board in Bologna, the region’s capital, urged residents to make essential journeys only.

Beaches and tourist resorts along the Adriatic coast were among the areas devastated by heavy rains and flooding.

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The neighbouring region of Le Marche was also hit by storms and heavy rainfall this week resulting in flooding in some areas.

READ ALSO: MAPS: Which parts of Italy have been hit by flooding?

On Thursday, passengers from the UK were also warned by airlines including Ryanair and Easyjet that disruption to flights to and from Italy on Friday was possible due to strikes.

However, on Thursday evening, most trade unions in Italy confirmed that they had called off strike action planned for Friday in light of the disastrous flooding in Emilia Romagna.

Two unions said they would go ahead with protests on Friday, though not in the flood-hit areas of the country.

READ ALSO: Italian unions suspend Friday airport strikes due to floods

This means some limited disruption to flights is possible on Friday, even though the larger-scale protests expected will not now go ahead.

Cabin crew from several airlines were also scheduled to hold separate protests on Friday, and there was no confirmation as to whether or not these were also cancelled.

Many parts of Italy have experienced a prolonged spell of unusually wet and cold weather in recent weeks, which forecasts predict will last until the end of May.

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