Catastrophic floods in Italy kill at least 13, destroy homes, farms

CASTEL BOLOGNA, Italy (Reuters) – Floods that have killed at least 13 people in northern Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region have caused billions of euros worth of damage, hitting agriculture particularly hard, the governor said. said Thursday.

Heavy rains this week have devastated the eastern side of the region known as Romagna, causing up to 300 landslides, flooding 23 rivers, damaging or destroying some 400 roads and flooding 42 municipalities. .

“We are facing another earthquake,” Emilia-Romagna president Stefano Bonaccini told reporters, recalling the 2012 earthquake that destroyed thousands of homes in the region. said.

Pointing out that “almost everything” has been rebuilt since then, Bonaccini said, “That experience showed us that it was possible. We would rebuild everything (again), I would I’m sure,” he said.

Four more bodies were found on Thursday, raising the death toll to 13. Two people, aged 73 and 71, were found dead together in their home in the small town of Russi, local authorities said.

According to the Coldiretti Agricultural Association, more than 5,000 farms remain submerged in the area, including corn and grain fields, as well as the so-called “fruit valley.”

“We had already estimated the damage[from the floods]to be close to 1 billion euros, but imagine how much this new disaster will add to that number,” said Bonaccini, not giving an exact figure. added that it was too early.

The flood is the latest in a series of floods extreme weather phenomenon A disaster that has hit Italy over the past year as once-exceptional disasters have become part of everyday life.

The government pledged an additional €20 million ($22 million) on top of the €10 million allocated for emergency aid. previous flood At least two people died two weeks ago.

Luxury sports car maker Ferrari (RACE.MI)Based in Emilia-Romagna, announced a donation of 1 million euros.

no electricity

At least 10,000 people have been forced from their homes, and many of those remaining in flooded areas have lost power. One of the dead was swept away from his home and washed ashore about 20 kilometers away.

Airport workers’ unions agreed to postpone Friday’s planned strike at the request of the government as flooding disrupted road and rail traffic across the region.

The rain had stopped in the town of Cesena and the water had mostly receded, allowing locals, including Maurizio Cora and Rafaela Zanni, who fled early Wednesday morning, to return to their mud-covered homes.

“We had to throw everything away. I mourned the loss of one of my most prized possessions, my wedding album. .

“All the memories,” Cora said.

“It’s over,” added Zani.

At Sunday’s F1 Grand Prix in Imola, near many of the hardest-hit areas, has been discontinued The decision was made to ease the strain on emergency services, and Bruce Springsteen’s concert in Ferrara later Thursday was scheduled to go ahead as scheduled.

This is the second time this month that the Emilia-Romagna region has been hit by bad weather. Months of drought were followed by heavy rains that dried the land and reduced its ability to absorb water, meteorologists said.

(1 dollar = 0.9084 euro)

Additional reporting by Alvise Armellini and Francesca Piscioneri in Rome, written by Keith Weir.Editing: Toby Chopra

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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