Italy floods: More than 23,000 people still displaced

Italy floods: More than 23,000 people still displaced

Baku, May 23, AZERTAC

More than 23,000 people are still not back in their homes almost one week after heavy rains sparked widespread flooding that left 14 dead in north-eastern Italy, officials have said, according to TheNationalNews.

Almost 2,700 are being housed in hotels, schools, gyms and other centres set up by local authorities, while others are staying with friends or family, the Emilia Romagna regional government said.

Almost two dozen rivers burst their banks, flooding towns and submerging huge tracts of farmland after six months' worth of rain fell in only 36 hours early last week.

The clean-up has begun in some areas but others remain under water.

Efforts began on Monday to restore an internet connection to hospitals, public offices, schools and people in isolated areas.

The region said it had started to distribute 100 Starlink terminals from Elon Musk's SpaceX in the areas around Ravenna.

Aside from the loss of life, as yet unquantifiable damage has been caused to one of Italy's wealthiest regions.

Agricultural lobby Confagricoltura said at least 10 million fruit trees will have to be uprooted, possibly as many as 40 million.

More than 600 roads remained closed on Monday, with the region estimating at the weekend that more than €620 million was needed to rebuild the waterlogged road and transport network.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni returned early from the G7 summit in Japan to visit some of the worst hit areas on Sunday, and is expected to hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to unblock emergency funds for the region.

Several private groups have already pledged money to help Emilia Romagna get back on its feet, including Italian-French car company Stellantis, which promised €1 million on Monday, matching funds also pledged by Formula One and luxury carmaker Ferrari, which is based in nearby Maranello.

France's LVMH, the world's biggest luxury group that includes Italian brands Bulgari and Fendi, and Kering, home to Gucci, have also made unspecified donations.

The president of Emilia Romagna, Stefano Bonaccini, has drawn up a list of requests for government action, including compensation for flood damage, helping temporary agricultural workers, and the suspension of tax and mortgage payments.

Longer term, he said the region needs a comprehensive plan “for the reconstruction, maintenance and safety of the territory” to address flood risks.

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