Floods in Italy kill 10; Survivors plucked from roofs, trees – Times of India


CANTIANO: After hours of exceptionally heavy rain, flash floods ravaged several towns in hilly central Italy on Friday, leaving 10 dead and at least four missing. Dozens of survivors clambered onto rooftops or trees to await rescue.
Floods invaded garages and basements, knocking doors down. In one city, the powerful stream of water pushed a car onto a second-floor balcony, while elsewhere parked vehicles crumpled up on each other in the streets. Some fields near the sea were meters (yards) under water.
“It wasn’t a water bomb, it was a tsunami,” Riccardo Pasqualinithe mayor of Barbara, told Italian state radio about the sudden rain shower on Thursday evening that devastated his town in the Marche region near the Adriatic Sea.
He said the flood last night left the city’s 1,300 residents without drinking water. A mother and her young daughter went missing after trying to escape the flooding, Pasqualini told Italy’s ANSA news agency. Elsewhere in town, a boy was swept from the arms of his mother, who was rescued.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi told a press conference in Rome that ten people had died and four were missing in the flash floods. He thanked the rescuers “for their professionalism, dedication and courage.” Officials said about 50 people were being treated for injuries in hospitals.
Draghi, who is serving as a caretaker in the run-up to Italy’s September 25 national elections, planned to visit a number of devastated cities later on Friday and his government announced 5 million euros (dollars) in aid to the region.
It was an extreme event, more than an exceptional climatologist Massimiliano Fazzini told Italian state television. He said that, based on his calculations, the amount of rain that fell, concentrated over four hours, including a particularly heavy 15-minute period, was the most in hundreds of years.
In the span of a few hours, the region was inundated with the amount of rain it usually receives in six months, state television said. A summer with virtually no rain meant the slopes were unusually hard and dry, so water rushed down the slopes more quickly, increasing the impact.
The fire service tweeted that dozens of people trapped in cars or who had climbed onto roofs or trees to escape rising waters had been rescued. Police in the city sassoferratoUnable to reach a man trapped in a car, a long tree branch stretched out toward him and pulled him to safety.
Helicopter crews rescued seven people in remote towns in the Apennines.
Hundreds of firefighters struggled Friday to remove fallen logs and branches amid thick mud as they searched for people who may have been buried by debris. They waded through medium water in flooded streets, while others paddled in dinghies to scoop up survivors.
In the town of Ostra, a father and his adult son were found dead in the flooded garage of their building where they had gone to try to get their car out, and another man trying to get his motorcycle out of a garage was also killed. , according to state television. . Elsewhere, a man was found dead in his car.
“While it (the flood) was unfolding, it was much, much worse than predicted,” said Fabrizio Curcio, head of civil defense. A bad weather watch was issued on Thursday, but not at the highest level.
Hundreds of people fled or were evacuated from their homes until the property could be checked for safety and mounds of mud cleared.
Some of the worst flooding hit the town of Senigallia, where the Misa River overflowed. Hillside hamlets near the Renaissance tourist town of Urbino were also inundated as fast-flowing rivers of water, mud and debris flowed through the streets.
In the town of Cantiano, mud was shoveled from shops and houses and an excavator was used to clear the town square.
“I was lucky because I live in a house on a slope, so basically the water didn’t reach the point where it was covered,” said Mirco Santarelli, a native of Cantiano. “But everywhere here, with the people living in the valley, it became a bowl (water). It was panic.”
“You could see cars in the middle of the road drifting in the flood, debris everywhere, screaming. It was chaos,” Santarelli told The Associated Press.

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