Farmers warned~, of “incalculable” losses as authorities started outlining cleanup and reconstruction plans. Rescue teams scrambled Thursday to reach towns and villages in northern Italy that are cut off from highways, electricity, and mobile phone coverage as a result of severe rains and flooding.
According to Stefano Bonaccini, the president of Emilia-Romagna, the hardest impacted northern region of Italy, the death toll from rains that caused two dozen rivers and tributaries to burst their banks stood at nine, with some persons still unaccounted for.
Local mayors issued a warning that some isolated settlements were still entirely cut off from the outside world due to impassable roads and disrupted phone coverage caused by landslides. Because of this, authorities and rescue crews have been unable to fully comprehend the citizens’ requirements. Mercato Seraceno Mayor Monica Rossi, standing on a road with a section missing due to a landslide, stated on Sky TG24, “If it rains anymore, the situation will be tragic.”
Heavy rains earlier this month caused the drought-stricken area to predict losses of around 1 billion euros, but Bonaccini said the losses had now increased to multiple billions due to the extensive infrastructure, farming, and storefront damage from this week’s flooding. Some areas of the city of Faenza were remained under water by Thursday morning, with cars submerged and basements swamped by goopy, thick mud. One family claimed they had no food, gas, or electricity while standing on their balcony.
More than 10,000 people left their homes, some being picked up by rescue helicopters from rooftops or balconies and others being transported aboard civil protection dinghies. A family with an infant who is 20 days old was saved on Thursday morning, according to Cesena Mayor Enzo Lattuca. More than 5,000 farms with greenhouses, nurseries, and stables, as well as thousands of acres of vineyards, fruit orchards, vegetable farms, and grain fields, according to the Italian farm group Coldiretti, have been submerged. Given the persistent harm to roots caused by the “suffocating” mud of the runoff, damage estimates were described as “incalculable,” potentially affecting not just present crops but also future ones.
The national government will likely proclaim a state of emergency when the Cabinet meets the following week after Premier Giorgia Meloni returns from the Group of Seven conference in Japan, as per Bonaccini’s call. The area has already expressed its desire for repair work and the restoration of essential infrastructure. Emilia-Romagna is one of the most flood-prone regions in Italy, according to the Superior Institute for Environmental Protection and Research, where both the terrain and the population are more vulnerable to “hazard scenarios” than the rest of the nation.
The hardest-hit eastern portion of the area, located between the Adriatic Sea and the Apennine mountain range, first experienced heavy rain earlier in May. The institution said that high sea levels and bora winds against the coast may have helped to the flooding of rivers and streams, adding that the second deluge tested the capacity of drought-parched soil to absorb water. The people of Emilia-Romagna received a sympathy telegram from Pope Francis on Thursday, assuring them of his prayers.
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