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Emergency crews rescue several people in a boat on a flooded street after heavy rains hit the east coast of the Marche region in Senigallia, Italy. Photo by VIGILI DEL FUOCO
22 May 2023

40,000 people evacuated from Italian flooding in the wake of Storm Minerva 2023

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The rain continues to fall in northern Italy, worsening conditions in the already flooded region of Emilia-Romagna. 14 people are dead and more than 36,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

UPDATED MAY 22

No new deaths were reported on Saturday, but local authorities have issued new landslide warnings in connection with the heavy rains.

Larger areas are now affected, and more people are forced to temporarily leave their homes. The area most heavily affected is around the city of Ravenna. The number of evacuees had almost doubled from Friday morning to Saturday evening, when 36,000 people had left their homes.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni attended the G7 meeting in Hiroshima on Saturday, but returned home early.

"Honestly, I can't be this far from home during times like this, she said and thanked the more than 5,000 rescue workers and volunteers who are helping those in need. Meloni was expected to visit the affected areas on Sunday.

Thursday and Friday saw as much rain as is normal for six months, and the flooding has been described as the worst in over a century.

Within the region, more than 500 roads have been closed and many of them are destroyed. Matteo Lepore, mayor of Bologna, says it will take time to repair the road network.

"We are talking about months, in some places years", he told AFP.

According to the governor Stefano Bonaccini, the price tag will end up at over half a billion euros,

Fourteen fatalities have so far been reported in the flood disaster.

 

Extreme weather hitting Italy hard in recent years

Italy has been severely affected by extreme weather in recent years. In the autumn of 2022, the city of Marche was hit by severe floods in which 14 people died and in July 2022 a state of emergency was declared in five Italian regions as the Po River suffered from severe drought. The drought, like the current floods, hit agriculture hard, with major economic consequences as a result

 

 

Original article written on May 18

Nine people have been killed and several more are missing after heavy rains in Italy's northern Emilia-Romagna region, officials say.

Northern Italy has gone from severe drought to flooding rain, with the latest deluge caused by Storm Minerva, BBC Weather Presenter Chris Fawkes said in a recent broadcast.

More than 10,000 people have been evacuated, and some had to be evacuated from rooftops by rescue helicopter, according to BBC. 

According to Italian newspaper La Vanguardia, all the fatalities were recorded in the Marche region (center), where 400 millimeters of water were recorded in just over two hours, "which means a third of the rains that fall throughout the year," said the person in charge of Italian Civil Protection, Fabrizio Curcio, who is traveling to the affected area.

The force of the storm has caused numerous landslides, forming large torrents of water and mud that have devastated several towns in the province of Ancona, the most affected, while firefighters work to locate the victims of the storm, which has also notable in the nearby regions of Tuscany and Umbria.

Nearly 200 firefighters have been working since last night in the affected areas, between the provinces of Ancona and Pesaro-Urbino, where they are looking for the missing once the rains have stopped, moving towards the south of the country.

Emergency teams rescue several people in a boat in the town of Senigallia, Italy.  VIGILI DEL FUOCO
Emergency teams rescue several people in a boat in the town of Senigallia, Italy. 
 Photo by VIGILI DEL FUOCO

 

The authorities say 14 rivers have broken their banks, which as led to flooding in 23 towns. The mayor of Ravenna says his city is now "unrecognisable".

The Emilia-Romagna F1 Grand Prix this weekend has now been cancelled due to the floods.

The AFP news agency reported that the mayor Gian Luca Zattini of the city of Forli, , said his city was "on its knees, devastated and in pain".

In the city of Cesena, residents had to climb on the rooftops and wait to be rescued by helicopter or boat.

In Castel Bolognese, the mayor said the situation was "catastrophic", the BBC's correspondent Sofia Bettiza in Italy reports.

Thousands of people living in single-floor homes needed to be rescued, the mayor said.

 

Photo Credit: Emergency crews rescue several people in a boat on a flooded street after heavy rains hit the east coast of the Marche region in Senigallia, Italy. Photo by VIGILI DEL FUOCO