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Italy Approves Multibillion Euro Flood Relief Package

Italy approved a $2.2 billion flood relief package to help the affected areas in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, also known as the food valley. 

According to Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, the package will include emergency-related funding and moratoriums on tac and social contributions.

"It has been a tragedy but we can always recover strongly from crises," Meloni told reporters in the city of Ravenna. Meloni left the G7 summit a day early so that she could return to Italy and tackle the flood crisis. She has been in power for less than a year and the recent floods as well as her response to them have raised several political challenges for the controversial prime minister. 

At least 14 people are dead and more than 20,000 have lost their homes as a result of the floods that took place earlier this month. Six months' worth of rain fell in the span of 36 hours. Thousands of acres of fertile farmland were destroyed in one of the premier gastronomic destinations in Italy, resulting in about 40 municipalities being completely destroyed.

"The scale of the devastation caused by the bad weather is like another earthquake," Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia-Romagna region, told the Rai 3 public television channel.

More than 5,000 farms, orchards, and vineyards were affected as a result of the floods. Countless livestock were unable to be saved and drowned as a result. 

“The ground was dry due to the drought, cracks had formed and, as we know, dry ground becomes impermeable,” said Andrea Betti, a farmer and vice president of the farming organization the Confagricoltura Ravenna to CNN. “The water then slides away, destroying everything.”

The Confagricoltura estimates the damage to be about $6,500 per hectare for seed crops such as wheat, corn, barley, and sunflowers. For orchards and vineyards, the cost is estimated to be more than five times higher at almost $35,000. 

The flood relief package will attempt to help those affected in the area restore their land and lost wages.

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