Friday, October 28, 2011

7 killed after flooding ravages parts of northern Italy, officials say

Seven people have died and seven others are missing after rains triggered severe flooding in northern Italy, civil protection officials said Friday.

Especially hard hit was the tourist-popular Cinque Terre region on Italy's northwest coast.

The Italian Council of Ministers declared a state of emergency in the flood region, which means 65 million euros ($91 million) will be put aside to deal with the disaster, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

A special cabinet meeting was called Friday to discuss the situation, the Italian government said.

Heavy rains continued to fall Thursday night in Milan and other spots across the southern European nation, according to the Servizio Meteorologico, Italy's official weather agency. The agency gave an alert about intense, widespread rainfall -- potentially with strong wind gusts and hail -- in the regions of Calabria and Basilicata in southern Italy, as well as the eastern part of Sicily.

Meanwhile, Monterosso al Mare -- between Genoa and Pisa in the Cinque Terre region of Liguria -- has been "isolated, accessible only by sea" because of earlier rains and floods, Mayor Angelo Betta told the news agency ANSA.

So, too, is the nearby town of Vernazza, with even bulldozers and cranes still not able to reach it. more