extreme weather in Emilia Romagna. Image courtesy of Fire Brigade

2 dead in Emilia Romagna as extreme weather hits

By Region Environment News North-east Italy

Emilia Romagna Governor Stefano Bonaccini said today he will ask central government to declare a state of emergency in the north-eastern region. It was hit by a wave of extreme weather that has claimed at least two lives.

A man in his 80s drowned on today after being swept away by flood waters while riding his bicycle in Castel Bolognese, in the province of Ravenna. He is thought to have been riding on a road that was closed due to the risk of flooding.

Firefighters said a dead body had been found in the rubble of a house that collapsed in Fontanelice, near Bologna. Another person is said to be missing.

“We are already at work to request the declaration of a national state of emergency,” said Bonaccini. He said he had spoken to Premier Giorgia Meloni about the situation.

 “We will do whatever it takes to guarantee assistance and support to the people affected, for the damage and consequences of the bad weather that has hit our region. We have witnessed a wave of bad weather that has no historical precedent in terms of the rain that has fallen uninterruptedly in 48 hours”.

Bologna Mayor Matteo Lepore said, “We are particularly concerned about the (Bologna) metropolitan area. The amount of rain that has fallen is very high, we have to be very careful”.

Evacuations overnight

Over 250 people had to be evacuated from their homes in Emilia Romagna overnight due to the extreme weather causing floods. The Army has been called in to help firefighters and the civil-protection department in the operations. The fire service conducted 400 interventions overnight.

The evacuations regarded the province of Ravenna. Around 100 people were affected in the Faenza area, another 100 around Biancanigo di Castel Bolognese and some 60 people in Conselice.

The torrential rain caused some rivers to reach dangerous levels. Rail operator FS suspended several services – between Faenza and Forlì, Russi and Lugo, Russi and Granarolo, and Lavezzola and Mezzano.

Many roads were also closed in the provinces of Bologna and Ravenna due to flooding and landslides caused by the rain.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed solidarity with the people affected. In a statement, Meloni said she was following the situation and was in “constant contact with the authorities.”

Experts said intense bouts of rainfall like this one will do little to alleviate the water shortage that northern Italy is experiencing after a prolonged period of low precipitation levels.

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