Flooding in Italy leaves 13 dead, thousands displaced from homes: ‘Water and mud took over’
New York Daily News May 19, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — More than 20 rivers in Italy are overflowing, resulting in 13 fatalities and forcing the displacement of thousands of residents amid the deluge of six months’ worth of rain that fell in just a day and a half.
On Thursday, more bodies were discovered following the flooding of almost every river between the city of Bologna and the north-east coast 70 miles away.
Roughly 280 landslides have also occurred, BBC News reported.
The mayor of Ravenna, Michele de Pascale, was quoted as saying that this was the city’s worst disaster in the past hundred years.
He called the destruction catastrophic, adding that many inhabitants of his city and nearby areas lost their homes, personal property and, in some cases, their lives.
“It was a very bad 48 hours. Water and mud took over our whole village,” said 71-year-old resident Roberta Lazzarini. Lazzarini’s hometown of Botteghino di Zocca, near Bologna, was caught in the flooding Wednesday. Roads, homes and yards were swamped, and the resident said that she is still fearful.
“I’ve never seen anything like that here. We were stuck and didn’t know what to do. I just hope it doesn’t happen again,” Lazzarini added.
Firefighters helped rescue residents from their houses, including one 97-year-old woman who was forced to exit through her bedroom using a rubber dinghy.
“Our community is broken,” said Lazzarini’s daughter Ines, who operates a cafe in the town’s central square. “We felt completely cut out, isolated, some of us were truly terrified.”
Evacuations continued Thursday to the west of Ravenna and additional bodies were found, including a couple located in a completely flooded apartment in the town of Russi.
Many are now calling on the government to develop a national plan to combat the growing effects of climate change.
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