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June 20th , 2024

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ITALY FLOODS LEAVE NINE DEAD AND FORCE 13,000 FROM THEIR HOMES

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A year ago

Lino Lenzi, 80, was standing in what used to be his daughter's garden, which was now overflowing with mud, his grandchildren's toys submerged.



"I've lived here for 70 years and I've never seen anything like this," he said, "the water is everywhere."


The house has belonged to the family for generations and his daughter had just finished renovating it.


Inside his kitchen the water is us up to our ankles. The day before it was more than 2m (6.5ft) high.


"We've had to get rid of the water with everything we've got: buckets, pots and pans."


Lino complained the local rivers had not been dredged for years.


"No-one has showed up to help. We've received zero help from the government or local authority,"


Rescue operations have proved difficult because so many roads have been flooded and many towns have gone without electricity.


The only help Lino had was from a teenage boy who lives near by. "He walked past and saw that we needed help. He helped us move our furniture."

This weekend's Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola was called off because of the risk of the nearby Santerno river flooding. Many of the areas around the track used for parking and watching the race were deluged on Tuesday.


Further north at Ferrara, a Bruce Springsteen rock concert was due to go ahead on Thursday despite the regional disaster. Some 50,000 fans had booked tickets for the sell-out concert.


There was some criticism of the decision to go ahead, with one local councillor Anna Ferraresi accusing local officials of proceeding regardless of the despair of thousands of people in the region.


Many are warning that Italy needs a national plan to respond to the effects of climate change.


Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci said tropical conditions had already reached Italy, with 20cm of rain falling in 36 hours, and in some areas up to 50cm.


"Soils that remain dry for a long time end up becoming cemented, drastically limiting their capacity to absorb water," he said.


No regional dams had been built for 40 years, he said, and a new approach to hydraulic engineering engineering was needed.


Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni's government has called a crisis meeting next Tuesday.


As well as the 23 rivers that burst their banks, the Zena stream turned into a raging torrent in Botteghino di Zocca.


This is one of many villages and towns flooded in the province of Emilia-Romagna, not just from rivers but overflowing canals too. More evacuations took place west of Ravenna on Thursday as the Lamone river overflowed.