Devastating floods in Italy claim lives and leave thousands homeless

Devastating floods in Italy claim lives and leave thousands homeless –

Five people have died and thousands have been evacuated from their homes after heavy storms wreaked havoc in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, causing severe flooding and landslides.

People sought refuge on the rooftops of their homes after 15 rivers broke their banks, submerging entire towns.

The five deaths were confirmed by the prefect of Forlì-Cesena, Rai News reported. Among the victims were an elderly man and a couple who owned a company in the agriculture sector, according to Corriere della Sera. The body of a German woman was found on a beach in Cesenatico, a town by the Adriatic coast, but it is unclear if she was killed in the storms.

Italy’s civil protection agency said on Wednesday there could be worse to come. “The rainfall is not over, it will continue for several hours,” the agency’s chief, Titti Postiglione, told SkyTG24 news. “We are facing a very, very complicated situation.”

The Savio River in Cesena, central Italy
The Savio River in Cesena, central Italy, which burst its banks. Photograph: AP

There has been heavy rain across Italy in recent days but the worst-affected area has been Emilia-Romagna and parts of the central Marche region, where 12 people died in floods last September.

In a video shared on social media, the voices of people trapped in their homes in Faenza, a city in Ravenna province, could be heard shouting for help. Massimo Isola, the mayor of Faenza, said: “We had a night that we will never forget. We’ve never known such flooding in our city, it is something unimaginable.”

Enzo Lattuca, the mayor of Cesena, where citizens swam through the floods to rescue others, said: “The situation is disastrous, it’s a catastrophe, and the rain has not yet finished.”

He said on Wednesday morning that the River Savio was starting to swell again.

A bridge that connected Motta-Budrio with San Martino in the area of Bologna collapsed overnight. “Do not go near it,” Italy’s fire service warned. “There is a gas pipeline close by which also seems to be affected.”

Five thousand people were evacuated from their homes in Ravenna. “It’s probably the worst night in the history of Romagna,” Michele de Pascale, the mayor of Ravenna, told Rai radio. “Ravenna is unrecognisable for the damage it has suffered.”

Dario Nardella, the mayor of Florence, said mountain villages on the Romagna side of the Mugello valley had been cut off due to landslides.

In a post on social media, the Italian prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, expressed her “total closeness to the affected population”, adding that the government was closely monitoring the situation.

skip past newsletter promotion