Nine dead in one family after river bursts banks and floods house in Sicily

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Nine dead in one family after river bursts banks and floods house in Sicily

Italy Nine dead in one family after river bursts banks and floods house in Sicily

Survivor Giuseppe Giordano says ‘I’ve lost everything’ as Italy-wide death toll from extreme weather passes 30

Forensic personnel check the house where nine people died.
Forensic personnel check the house where nine people died. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Nine people from three generations of one extended family have been killed on the Italian island of Sicily after a river burst its banks and flooded a house outside Palermo.

Fierce winds and rains have killed more than 30 people in Italy this week and razed thousands of hectares of forest in the country’s devastated north before moving south at the weekend.

The family was spending the night in the villa in Casteldaccia, part of the Palermo district, following the All Souls holiday long weekend, when the swollen Milicia river flooded it. Three children â€" ages one, three and 15 â€" lost their lives.

Three of the party survived â€" an adult and a child who had left the building on an errand, and a child who was outside and clung onto a tree as the waters rose.

Prosecutors in Sicily have visited the villa and have formally launched an investigation. Magistrates are trying to determine whether the house was constructed in an area prone to flooding risk.

The flooded house where nine people died. Facebook Twitter Pinterest
The flooded house where nine people died. Photograph: Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

“We suspect the villa was built too close from the Milicia river,” said Ambrogio Cartosio, a prosecutor in Termini Imerese. “But it’s too early to talk about potential charges.”

He described it as a “total disaster”.

The surviving adult said he had been living in the house as a tenant for two years. “Why did they rent to us this house in such a place,” said Giuseppe Giordano, whose wife, two sons, parents, brother and sister were all killed. “I’ve lost everything now. Why didn’t they tell us that this was a flooding area?”

The mayor of Casteldaccia, Giovanni Di Giacinto, said the house had been illegally built too close to the river but the owners had appealed a 2008 demolition order.

Also on Sicily, a 44-year-old local councilman died after the car he was driving was hit by floodwater from the San Leonardo river in Vicari, also in Palermo province, while another is missing.

A man and woman, still unidentified, suffered the same fate in Cammarata, in the province of Agrigento where a total of fifty families were evacuated after the Akragas river broke its banks.

Italy’s civil protection agency on Saturday said 20 people were killed by bad weather earlier in the week.

An 87-year-old woman and a 62-year-old German tourist were killed on Friday after being struck by lightning in Sardinia.

Meteorologists have predicted further wind and rain on Sunday.

Trees covering the mountainsides in the Dolomites range were flattened by winds, which tore through the Veneto region on Thursday. “It’s like after an earthquake,” said the governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia. “Thousands of hectares of forest were razed to the ground, as if by a giant electric saw.”

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He said 160,000 people in the region were left without electricity, adding that parts of the Dolomites were “reduced to looking like the surface of the moon”.

“We’ve been brought to our knees,” the politician said.

An estimated three-quarters of Venice was submerged earlier in the week following high tides. Interior minister Matteo Salvini travels to Venice on Sunday before going to Belluno.

Storms in the Aosta valley, in north-west Italy, killed two people, aged 74 and 73, on Thursday when a tree fell on their car. Another person fell into a river in the Brescia region and was dragged under by the current.

In the Alto Adige region, in the north-east, an 81-year-old died after falling off the damaged roof of his Alpine cottage, while a 53-year-old whose car was hit by a falling tree died on Monday.

Several towns in the provi nce of Belluno, Veneto, were cut off after a landslide damaged a mountain road and repair efforts were hampered by the insistent heavy rains. Floods in Sicily have closed many roads and mayors ordered schools, public parks, and underpasses shut.

The picturesque fishing village of Portofino, near Genoa, a famed holiday resort on the Italian riviera, was reachable only by sea after the main road collapsed and an emergency path was deemed too dangerous. “It won’t be easy or quick but we count on returning Portofino next summer to the millions of tourists who come to visit it,” regional governor Giovanni Toti said.

He added that the Genoa region alone had suffered tens of millions of euros’ worth of damage â€" a price tag that could rise to hundreds of millions in the long term.

The civil protection agency described the weather as “one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years”.

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    Source: Google News Italy | Netizen 24 Italy

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