It was an “epochal accident,” Massimo Isola, the mayor of the city of Faenza, complained on Italian television in view of the flooding and the many landslides. Shortly before, an elderly man had been found dead in his community – according to the media in the mud in front of his house. The man is the 14th dead of the disaster in northern Italy.
Tens of thousands of residents have already had to leave their homes, many of them are sheltered in makeshift parishes and sports halls. 650 people were evacuated from the flooded areas by helicopter and plane.
The highest alert level continued to prevail in large parts of the region yesterday. The situation worsened especially around the city of Ravenna. Rivers burst their banks again. Water flowed across an expressway directly towards the city center. Many residents of the city were asked to leave their homes, according to the media, 20,000 were brought to safety in Ravenna alone.
And the meteorologists expect more rain, up to 100 liters per square meter could fall in the next few hours. This threatens further flooding and landslides.
Hundreds of emergency services from the fire brigade, civil defense, military and other organizations as well as volunteers from all parts of Italy have been in action in Emilia Romagna for days.
Adriatic coast less affected
While the areas around Imola, Forli, Cesena and Ravenna were hit hard, places on the Adriatic coast that are particularly popular with tourists, such as Rimini, got off relatively lightly. Tourism Minister Daniela Santanchè reported: “The only positive news, if one can speak of positive at all about this tragedy, is that hotels and the coastal strips were less badly damaged than the areas inland.”
Agriculture and animal husbandry are also particularly affected by the devastating floods – almost two dozen rivers have burst their banks in the past few days, 36 towns and communities were flooded, 48 local governments reported landslides. The Coldiretti agricultural association reported that 5,000 farms would be affected by the severe storms and that 50,000 field work jobs would be at risk.
The Confagricoltura association speaks of damage of up to 6,000 euros per hectare for arable crops and 32,000 euros per hectare for fruit, wine and olive groves, including crop failures and costs for replanting.
Emilia Romagna is one of the Italian regions with the strongest agricultural production. A large part of the production is also exported abroad.