Italy .. 9 people were killed and the Formula 1 race was canceled due to floods

Italy .. 9 people were killed and the Formula 1 race was canceled due to floods
Italy .. 9 people were killed and the Formula 1 race was canceled due to floods

At least nine people were killed in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, where torrential rains caused floods that inundated entire neighborhoods and farmland on Wednesday, which also led to the cancellation of the Formula One race at the Imola circuit, which was scheduled for this weekend.

The heavy rains that fell on the plains in the region over the course of two days caused the flooding of about twenty rivers, which led to the flooding of vast areas of land with water and the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Vast areas of land were flooded

“We saw from the window of the house (the second floor) the water gradually rising,” David Maldola, a resident of Cesena, told AFP, until it was submerged after it reached a height of one and a half meters, which led to the sinking of the house.

Helicopters flew all night, looking for survivors to rescue.

In neighboring Forlì, southeast of the regional capital Bologna, the mayor, Gianluca Zattini, said his city was “on its knees, devastated and in pain”.

Regional authorities confirmed nine deaths, mostly in the regions of Forlì and Cesena.

Thousands of farms in the fertile agricultural region were affected, but Agriculture Minister Francesco Lollobrigida said the waters must recede before the government can quantify the damage.

Divers recovered two bodies in Forlì on Wednesday morning, as part of a massive rescue effort involving emergency services, the armed forces and more than 1,000 volunteers.

Seoul and mud

Video footage showed relief workers carrying residents on flooded roads or on rubber boats, while torrents rushed through the corridors of Bologna, which is classified by UNESCO as a human heritage.

In other videos of the Italian Coast Guard, rescue workers appeared in a helicopter as they pulled two elderly people from the roof of a house in which the water level almost covered the windows of the first floor.

In areas where the waters receded, streets were littered with thick mud and debris.

Just two weeks ago, the Emilia-Romagna region, one of Italy’s most affluent regions, was hit by torrential rains, causing floods that claimed two lives.

Civil Protection Minister Nilo Musumeci said about 50 centimeters of rain fell in 36 hours in Forlì, Cesena and Ravenna, about half the usual annual rainfall.

He added that 20 million euros ($21.6 million) in emergency aid would be released, in addition to the 10 million received in donations since the last flood.

The floods caused the cancellation of the Formula 1 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, scheduled for Sunday in Imola, as organizers said they could not guarantee the safety of fans, teams and staff.


Paramedics worked throughout the night to rescue children, the elderly and people with special needs from the massive floods.

In Cesena, Cristian Salamandre was covered in mud at the end of the day.

“We have come to help and to try to save people and animals,” Salamandre said. “The situation is still harsh and tragic. We hope it will improve.”

About 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, according to the authorities, including 3,000 in Bologna and 5,000 in Ravenna, while about 5,000 people are still without electricity.

Nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated from their homes

About 50,000 people in Forlì were without electricity, where an AFP photographer saw people in shock as they fled on Tuesday night through floodwaters in the dark, barefoot.

drought to flood

Elsewhere, locals swam down one of Cesena’s avenues to rescue a three-year-old boy, while a man was seen battling water while holding his cat.

The heavy rains came in the wake of a drought that affected large areas in northern Italy last winter, in addition to a record scarcity of rain last summer, which affected agricultural crops.

“We have to get used to it in the future because unfortunately in recent years such heavy rains often fall,” Air Force meteorologist Paolo Capizzi told AFP.

He added that global warming could not be blamed directly, but that the “ever-increasing frequency of this phenomenon could clearly be a consequence of ongoing climate change.”

On her way to the G7 summit in Japan, Prime Minister Georgia Meloni expressed her support for those affected, and said the government was “ready to respond with the necessary assistance.”

The rains are expected to subside on Thursday in the flooded area.

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