Rain, rain, nothing but rain for two days. Rivers overflowed their banks, even small streams turned into raging torrents, sweeping away everything in their path. Mud and rubble in the streets, bridges and individual houses have collapsed, rescue workers are bringing people caught in the flood to safety using inflatable boats or on their shoulders: in the Italian regions of Emilia-Romagna and Marche, a severe storm has killed several people. the people. Civil Defense Minister Nilo Musumesi reported at least five deaths on Wednesday. Thousands of people had to be brought to safety.
Pictures and videos from Italian firefighters and media show how dramatic the situation is. There is a video of the A14 completely flooded, one of the most important road connections in Italy. Many Germans use the motorway to travel to holiday resorts on the Adriatic Sea, such as Rimini. The newspaper La Republica Shows recordings, made by a fireman in a place between the cities of Forlì and Faenza. Dirty brown water flows down the road in a huge knee-high at least above the road, in the middle of the picture you can see the crash barriers.
There are also records from Bologna showing severe flooding. Normally, Bologna is the city of arcades, in the city center that allow you to wander the streets without getting wet, even in heavy rain. But now floods are pushing manhole covers and dirty water is pouring down the streets. Ravon, usually more than a creek, carries so much water that the city council has issued a warning that residents should go to the upper floors of their homes if possible.
It’s been raining in the area for two days now – and the rain hasn’t let up yet. It is indeed the second result of heavy rain in a short period of time. There were already severe floods in Emilia-Romagna at the beginning of May, and two people died. Before that, it looked completely different: there was a drought in northern Italy. It rained very little both in the hot summer of last year and in the last autumn and winter, the Po carried less and less water and in places almost dried up. There is a risk of flooding, especially when heavy rains fall on dry soil, because the soil cannot absorb water. Civil Protection Minister Musumichi said that in the future, one should prepare for long periods of drought and very short periods of heavy rain.
The provinces of Ravenna, Forlì Cesena, Rimini and Bologna were the most affected by the current storm – there are in particular the cities of Faenza, Cesena and Forli, as announced by the Italian fire brigade. The firefighter has been on 600 missions since Tuesday morning and he was present with 400 firefighters. They rescued people who were trapped in their homes by water, or motorists who were stranded in water bodies.
In the town of Cesena, where the Savio River overflowed its banks, the emergency services rescued dozens of people stuck on the roofs of their homes. Pictures and videos from the fire brigade showed how entire streets were submerged in water, mudslides blocked roads and fields were likened to seascapes because of the water masses. According to the Civil Protection, 14 rivers have burst their banks in Emilia-Romagna alone, affecting 24 local communities. Emergency services have been deployed by helicopter – some people can be flown to safety this way.
A number of long-distance and regional roads were closed or left empty for rescue vehicles. Several railway lines in the region were disrupted. The high-speed line between Florence and Bologna was also affected; Trains can run here, but more slowly.
There were power outages in several parts of the city of Faenza, as well as problems with telephone connections. Italian mountain rescue teams are also working in the affected areas. A woman in Faenza reported how quickly the water smoothed her way – in ten minutes, according to her, the water rose almost to the first floor of her house. The ANSA news agency quoted her as saying, „One of my neighbors was alone at home with four young children, she called for help and no one came. We stayed with them all night, in their pajamas. The children cried. A disaster.” news agency.
According to the Minister of Civil Defense, Musumesi, the government has already approved 10 million euros for initial spending and emergencies in the aftermath of the floods. The Civil Protection called on people to be very careful in the coming hours. People who have not been brought to safety must go to the upper floors of buildings.
Given the situation at the site, the Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, expressed her „full solidarity” with the people in the affected areas. „The government is closely following the development of events and is ready to take the necessary relief measures,” she wrote on Twitter.
The Formula 1 race scheduled for Sunday at Imola has been cancelled. This was announced by the series, which was preceded by talks with the FIA and regional authorities. „The decision was taken because a safe event could not be guaranteed for our fans, teams and staff,” the statement said. It was also a „responsible” decision: „It would not be right to increase pressure on local authorities and rescue workers in these difficult times.” Imola lies between Bologna and Faenza.