Flooding in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna has killed at least 13 people, caused billions of euros in damage and hit agriculture particularly hard, the regional governor said on Thursday.
Torrential rain this week ravaged the eastern part of the region known as Romagna, triggering 300 landslides, overflowing 23 rivers, damaging or destroying nearly 400 roads and flooding 42 municipalities.
“We are facing a new earthquake,” Emilia-Romagna’s president, Stefano Bonacini, told the press, recalling thousands of homes-destroying earthquakes that ravaged the region in 2012.
Noting that “almost everything” has been rebuilt, Bonacini said, “That experience showed us it can be done, and we will rebuild everything (again), I’m sure of it. ”
The death toll rose to 13 with the recovery of four more bodies on Thursday. In the small town of Rusi, two men aged 73 and 71 were found dead together in their home, local officials said.
REÉ: Colombia continues the search for four children lost in the jungle and Petro admits he was wrong
According to the Coldiretti Agricultural Union, more than 5,000 farms were under water in the region, including the so-called “Valley of Fruits” as well as corn and grain fields.
“We had already calculated about 1,000 million euros in damage (from those floods), so imagine how much the figure will increase” with the new disaster, Bonacini said, adding that it was too early to give an exact amount.
The floods are the latest in a series of extreme weather events in Italy over the past year, as the once extraordinary catastrophe becomes a regular part of life.
The government has pledged additional emergency aid of 20 million euros ($22 million) on top of the 10 million euros it allocated in response to the floods two weeks ago, which killed at least two people.
At least 10,000 people were forced to flee their homes, and many of those who remained in flooded areas lost power. One of the dead was found washed up on a beach some 20 kilometers from his home.
Sunday’s Formula One Grand Prix at Imola, which is close to many of the worst-hit areas, has been called off to ease pressure on emergency services, while Thursday’s Bruce Springsteen concert in Ferrara went ahead as planned.