More than 36,000 Italians have been forced to leave their homes due to floods in the northeast of the country, where rising waters have submerged homes and landslides have cut off small villages, regional officials said Saturday.
Heavy rains earlier this week killed 14 people and turned streets in cities and towns in the Emilia-Romagna region into rivers. With more rain falling, regional authorities extended the state of high alert until Sunday.
For her part, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Saturday that she would leave the G7 summit in Japan early to supervise dealing with the emergency situation.-
“Frankly, I cannot stay away from Italy in such a complicated situation,” Meloni told reporters, thanking the 5,000 rescuers and volunteers who helped those affected by the floods, and the G7 leaders for their offers of assistance. Meloni is expected to visit some of the hardest hit areas on Sunday.-
On Saturday, the Ravenna city authorities ordered the immediate evacuation of more small villages at risk. Meanwhile, a helicopter crashed near the city of Lugo while it was participating in attempts to restore electricity on Saturday, injuring one of the four people who were traveling in it, according to the Civil Defense.
The floods have caused more than 305 landslides, and damaged or closed more than 500 roads in the region. Bologna Mayor Matteo Libor said Saturday that repairing roads and infrastructure would take “months, and in some places possibly years”.