The Italian Rescue seeks to reach villages and towns cut off by floods

The Italian Rescue seeks to reach villages and towns cut off by floods
The Italian Rescue seeks to reach villages and towns cut off by floods

Rescue teams worked Thursday to reach towns and villages in northern Italy still cut off by torrential rains and flooding, as the death toll rose to 13 and authorities began drawing up plans for clean-up and reconstruction.

According to the British newspaper The Guardian, the extreme weather behind this week’s disaster – a prolonged drought punctuated by 36 hours of torrential rain, and two weeks later another – has caused twenty rivers and tributaries to burst their banks.

The force of the waters caused torrents of mud that destroyed entire towns in Emilia-Romagna, flooding storefronts and basements.

Local mayors warned that some remote villages remained completely cut off as landslides made roads impassable and telephone service remained cut off.

This has prevented rescue teams from reaching residents and the authorities from understanding the full scope of their needs, said Monica Rossi, the mayor of Mercato Ceracino.

State TV Rai, citing the province of Ravenna, reported that the death toll had risen to 13, after more bodies were found Thursday in the worst-affected province of Ravenna. Among them: a couple in their 70s who were found dead in their flooded apartment in Rossi after their son raised the alarm that he had lost contact with them.

By Thursday, some parts of Faenza were still submerged, with cars submerged and basements soaking in the thick, sticky mud. One family standing on their balcony said they had no electricity, gas, or food. Other residents took refuge in a local gymnasium, where soldiers set up cribs on the basketball court for the newcomers.

“At some point they asked us all to leave the area, and after about an hour we heard a loud bang,” said Claudia, 29, a resident of Faenza, Thursday, recalling the moment at dawn Wednesday when the nearby Lamon River burst its banks. “Water just flooded everywhere.”

More than 10,000 people fled their homes, some pulled from rooftops or balconies by rescue helicopters, while others were taken away on boats. Cesena Mayor Enzo Lauca said a family with a 20-day-old baby was rescued on Thursday morning. Another packed their belongings into an inflatable pool they floated thigh-high out of the once-street mud.

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