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At least 10 dead as flash floods hit central Italy

At least 10 dead as flash floods hit central Italy


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The Italian authorities said, on Friday, that at least 10 people had died due to torrential rains and floods in the Marche region in central Italy, while rescuers continued to search for three who are still missing.

Reuters footage in Cantiano, a village close to the neighboring region of Umbria, showed residents removing mud from the streets after torrential rains swept through several towns, leaving behind cars trapped and destroyed.

“My fruit shop has been turned upside down,” Luciana Agustinelli, a local resident, told Reuters.

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Nearly 400 mm (15.75 inches) of rain fell within two to three hours, the Civil Protection Agency said, a third of the amount normally received in a year.

“It was like an earthquake,” Ludovico Caverni, mayor of Serra Sant Abondio, another flood-hit village, told RAI radio.

The head of the National Civil Protection Agency, Fabrizio Corcio, met with local authorities in the Marche capital city of Ancona to assess the damage, while party leaders who campaigned for the Italian elections on September 25 expressed their solidarity.

People work to clear the road after heavy rain and deadly flooding hit the Marche region of central Italy, in Cantiano, Italy, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Yara Nardi

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Footage released by firefighters showed rescuers on boats trying to evacuate people in the coastal town of Senigallia, while others tried to clear debris from a tunnel.

Paola Pino d’Estor, an expert at the Italian Society of Environmental Geology, told Reuters that the floods were due to climate change and were not easy to predict.

“It’s an irreversible phenomenon, a taste of what our future will be,” she said.

The fire brigade said that about 300 firefighters are currently working in the area and rescued dozens of people who climbed roofs and trees during the night to escape the floods.

Stefano Agozzi, head of civil protection in the Marche regional government, said the rains were much stronger than expected.

“We received a normal rain warning, but no one expected anything like this,” he told reporters.

Enrico Letta, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party, said he would suspend his Marche campaign “in a sign of mourning” and allow his local activists to participate in efforts to help flood-affected communities.

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Additional reporting by Federico Maccioni, Elvis Armellini, Gavin Jones and Angelo Amanti; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Paul Simao

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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