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Floods Hit Italy, As Death Toll Rises

In Cantiano, Italy at least 10 people have died, after heavy rainfall and flash flooding in Italy. The floods began last week, which started with a thunderstorm and then heavy raining. Another 50 other people were treated for pneumonia and 1,300 were left without drinking water.  

Around 400 millimetres of rain fell within two hours, which is a third of the amount usually received in a year. Homes and buildings were destroyed, and over 300 firefighters deployed to try and rescue dozens of residents. The flooding Friday stretched across the Marche region, from the inland hills to the Adriatic coast.  

The victims include many; among them, were a man and his adult son whose bodies lay lifeless on the streets of Italy; another boy was swept away from the arms of his mother. People were also rescued on rooftops and on trees.  

Central Eastern Marche region was the worst affected; cars were swept into rivers and mud covered all furniture. "It was like an earthquake." said local mayor Ludovico Caverni. Villagers tried in vain to remove mud from their belongings and protect their homes.  

Italy is vulnerable to climate change, with temperatures reaching as high as 48.5oc last summer, breaking the European record. Such hot temperatures in Italy meant that the sea was warmer, putting more moisture into the air. As such, when it began to rain, the rain was heavier and longer.  

Heavy rainfall was predicted, but never to this extent. Head of civil protection at Marche's regional government, Stefano Aguzzi, said the rain was far stronger than forecast, and more like a tsunami or earthquake. 

The flooding comes one week before general elections in Italy, where the problem of climate change will be the focus of political parties. So far, the death toll has not risen and the worse of the crisis seems to have peaked now.  

Like environmental disasters seen in Pakistan, India and Greece, no one can deny the reality of climate change and its devastating consequences. The time to act is now.

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Tags: climate change environment Italy natural disaster flooding


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