Torrential rains in central Italy cause at least 10 deaths | International
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At least 10 people have died and four remain missing, including an eight-year-old boy, as a result of an unexpected storm with torrential rains that shook the central Marche region early Friday morning. In just over two hours, the rain gauges registered an amount of water equivalent to a third of the rains that have fallen so far throughout the year. In that short space of time, all the water that was expected for the precipitations of the next six months fell. Firefighters continue to work to locate storm victims. At least fifty people have been injured and are receiving medical attention in hospitals in the region.
The force of the storm has caused numerous landslides and formed large torrents of water and mud that have devastated several towns in the province of Ancona, the most affected. Torrential rains have also caused damage, although to a lesser extent, in the nearby regions of Tuscany and Umbria.
The ten confirmed dead so far were all in three towns, Ostra, Trecastelli and Barbara, in the coastal province of Ancona, on the shores of the Adriatic and capital of the Marches. The four people whose whereabouts are unknown are being sought in this same area. One of them is a boy between six and eight years old, according to the media, who was traveling with his mother by car and whom his mother tried to save from the storm by taking him out of the vehicle and holding him in her arms, but the force of the current dragged him. The firefighters managed to get her to safety later, but they have not been able to find her minor. Other missing are a girl of about eight years and her mother.
In the town of Senigallia, the bodies of four people who were trapped in a garage have been recovered. The body of another of the victims, a man, was found inside her car, which had been swept away by the downpour. Another man traveling with him was saved by grabbing a tree.
The mayor of the town of Cantiano, Alessandro Piccino, has explained to the media that the local authorities are accounting for the damage. “The situation is dramatic. Our town is completely damaged and the historic center no longer exists”, he declared. And he has described the dramatic panorama: “There are cars stacked one on top of the other and the industrial area is completely full of water, with hit companies and machinery that will have to be thrown away. A part of the town is still without electricity and the gas supply has been interrupted because some pipes have broken.”
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As reported by the local media, many people took refuge on the roofs of houses or climbed trees to escape the water, but they could not even communicate their whereabouts due to the fall of some telephone lines, including those of mobile phones. Many roads have become impassable, which is making rescue work difficult. The emergency services received so many calls that they had to ask the Tuscany region for help.
The regional councilor for Health of the Marches, Filippo Saltamartini, has pointed to the newspaper The stamp that “the emergency department of the Senigallia hospital is receiving people in a state of shock and hypothermia, who have been rescued and moved out of their homes, where they were trapped in the water.” Other wounded were taken to other hospitals in the region.
The storm that has hit this region, where 1.5 million people live, has surprised the meteorologists and the Civil Protection authorities, who did not expect rains of this magnitude and had not decreed any level of alarm, only an alert usually due to wind and rain. Specifically, they have described the flooding of the Misa River as “sudden and abrupt.” The regional councilor for Civil Protection, Stefano Aguzzi, has pointed out that in some places “there was no time to intervene” and explained that several people were in the street or left without realizing the danger. Some mayors have protested because they had not received any special notice warning them that something like this could happen. The head of the Italian Civil Protection, Fabrizio Curcio, has warned that “we must prepare for a difficult winter” and that it is “necessary to get used to phenomena like this that will be more and more numerous”.
Although extreme weather events such as these floods cannot be automatically attributed to climate change, because it is necessary to delve into the causes and circumstances, scientists agree that climate change makes extreme events such as hurricanes, floods and droughts more frequent.
Giulio Betti, meteorologist at the National Research Council, explained that it is a V-shaped stationary storm, which is fed in a loop by a constant flow of cold air and whose intensity has been exceptional, “with impacts that are very difficult to predict”. . “It is clear that the climate crisis amplifies all this”, pointed out the scientist, who is closely following the intense meteorological phenomena in central Italy, and who has been amazed by the power with which the storm hit several nights. areas of the Marche region. “It is an emergency that we can no longer deal with with emergency actions alone, but rather it is necessary to equip ourselves with adaptation policies beforehand,” the meteorologist pointed out.
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