Three dead and thousands evacuated as devastating floods hit Italy

Three people died after heavy rains in northern Italy burst riverbanks and caused devastating floods. The mayor of the city of Cesena, in the Emilia-Romagna region, Enzo Lattuca, posted a video early Wednesday on Facebook to warn that continued heavy rains in the Emilia-Romagna region could again flood the Savio river and smaller tributaries.

He urged residents to move to upper floors of their homes and avoid riverbanks, and announced the closure to traffic of some bridges and streets after heavy flooding sent rivers of mud sloshing through town.

He said: “The situation could again become critical. We cannot in any way lower our guard.”

Civil Protection Minister Nello Musemeci confirmed three people had been killed so far and some 5,000 people evacuated.

The deputy chief of the agency, Titti Postiglione, said the rescue operations for those needing emergency evacuations were particularly difficult given so many roads and routes were flooded.

Speaking on Sky TG24, she noted that the affected flood zone covered a broad swath of four provinces that, until the heavy rains, had been parched by a prolonged drought.

She also told Rai News: “The road system is complex, with many roads flooded, travel is difficult if not with equipped vehicles, there are also problems on the national road system, it is advisable to avoid some arterial roads and movements from the south are not recommended.

“There is the interruption of regional railway services and the entire Adriatic section diverted to the Tyrrhenian Sea; the invitation is to adopt measures of maximum caution, the emergency is by no means over, we must listen to the indications, the rescue operations can be complex and put the rescuers at risk.”

She added: “The affected area is enormous: we are facing both floods and landslides. The night was decidedly complicated, the relief efforts did not stop, even helicopters flew in for rescue activities.

“A critical issue that will not go away, the rain will continue until mid-day. We have different situations: population evacuated in advance; some have resorted to collective structures made available by the mayors; in some cases we have had difficulty moving people who did not want to leave their homes. It is a 360-degree assistance cots were also fitted for the night.”

In total, at least four people are missing in the province of Forlì-Cesena. According to what has been learned from the rescuers, one person is said to be missing in Cesena and three in Forlì.

Premier Giorgia Meloni said the government was monitoring the situation and “is ready to intervene with necessary help.”

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