Floods in Italy Turn Deadly

By B. McPherson

Violent weather assaulting Italy turned deadly in the Tuscany region when flash floods churning through towns killed at least 24 people(source: BBC News). Five people remain missing. About 40 000 people have been displaced. Torrential rains hit Italy from the Tuscany region south to Sicily. Some places received upwards of 99 mm of rain in a short time.

As the rains ease, some Italians have been able to return to their homes, but about half of those displaced remain homeless. The River Po which empties into the Adriatic Sea is expected to crest this weekend. The Gran San Bernardo tunnel linking Switzerland to Italy has been reopened.

This series of storms battered Switzerland as well, resulting in the deaths of 11 people. A village was destroyed when a mudslide crashed down on it.

In addition to the loss of human life, Italy is adding up the destruction done to historic buildings. Damage to farmland and crops is widespread. The clean up bill is estimated to be $2.6 billion(source: BBC News). This comes at a time when the beleaguered government is searching for ways to balance its finances.

Europe expects stormy weather in the autumn months, but this onslaught has been greater than many can remember. WWF Italia added their comments about the damage and loss of life inflicted by this year’s storms by saying some of it could have been prevented.
Italian citizens are having to pay the price for . . . overbuilding authorized in areas at risk which instead should be freed up by demolishing dangerous buildings," environmental organization WWF Italia said in a statement. Canada.com

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