The UAE expressed its sincere condolences and solidarity with Italy for the victims of the torrential rains and floods in the Emilia-Romagna region, located in the center of the country, which left many dead and injured, and caused great damage. In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the Italian government, to the friendly Italian people, and to the families of the victims, wishing a speedy recovery for all the injured.
In a related context, the authorities of the Italian region of Ravenna issued immediate evacuation orders, yesterday, Thursday, for three villages threatened with floods, following torrential rains that claimed the lives of more than 10 people across the regions of northeastern Italy. Buses were sent to help evacuate people from Vilanova di Ravenna, Filetto and Roncalcici, after the Limoni river burst its banks.
In Emilia-Romagna, the rains flooded huge agricultural areas, destroying grain fields and markets for orchards and fodder for livestock. Entire villages were washed away by muddy floods, while bridges and 400 roads collapsed. In a few hours, the equivalent amount of rain fell for six months. The governor of Emilia-Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini, said: “We counted an estimated two billion dollars in damages, the earth no longer absorbs anything.” “But with the equivalent of six months of rain falling in 36 hours, as record rains fell two weeks ago, no region can stand,” he added. Damages in the fruit sector alone amount to 1.2 billion euros, according to the agricultural association Coldiretti. Yesterday, Thursday, the federation said that “five thousand farms have become submerged in water,” referring to “nurseries and barns whose animals have drowned, in addition to tens of thousands of hectares of vineyards, and others planted with kiwi, apples, vegetables and grains.” More than 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and hundreds of landslides have been reported, according to district officials.
And the mayor of Ravinia, Michel de Pascal, indicated that the residents of some of the evacuated towns can return to their homes, while others must evacuate their homes, due to the dams that threaten to collapse. Stefano Bonacani, President of the Emilia-Romagna Region, compared the scale and repercussions of the disaster to the earthquake that struck the region on May 20, 2012, causing material damage estimated at more than ten billion euros.
The Italian Armed Forces and the Coast Guard joined the emergency efforts, and helicopters and rubber boats were deployed to reach homes surrounded by water. And 26,000 people remained without electricity on Thursday. Residents also worked to clean up houses covered in mud and streets filled with debris, after the water receded. “I’ve lived here since 1979, I’ve experienced floods, but I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Cesena resident Eduardo Amadori. For the authorities and experts, these exceptional disasters will become the norm. And the Minister of Civil Protection, Nilo Musumechi, warned that “nothing will be the same as before, because the shift in tropical weather is affecting Italy as well.”
“We have to get used to it in the future, because unfortunately in recent years these torrential rains often fall,” said Paolo Capizzi, a meteorologist at the Air Force.