Storms raze forests bringing northern Italy 'to its knees'
Italy Storms raze forests bringing northern Italy 'to its knees'
Officials say at least 20 people have been killed this week as extreme weather lashes country
Fierce winds and rains have killed at least 20 people in Italy this week and razed thousands of hectares of forest in the countryâs devastated north, officials have said.
An 87-year-old woman and a 62-year-old German tourist were killed on Friday after being struck by lightning in Sardinia.
It brings the number of people killed by bad weather in Italy since the start of the week to 20, according to the countryâs civil protection agency. Meteorologists have predicted further wind and rain on Saturday and Sunday.
Trees covering the mo untainsides in the Dolomites range were flattened by winds, which tore through the Veneto region on Thursday.
âItâs like after an earthquake,â said the governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia. âThousands of hectares of forest were razed to the ground, as if by a giant electric saw.â
He said 160,000 people in the region were left without electricity, adding that parts of the Dolomites were âreduced to looking like the surface of the moonâ.
âWeâve been brought to our knees,â the politician said.
The storms in northern Italy on Thursday killed two pensioners, 74 and 73, when a tree fell on their car in the Aosta Valley. Another person fell into a river in the Brescia region and was dragged under by the current.
In the Alto Adige region, 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 province of Belluno were cut o ff 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 only reachable by sea after the main road collapsed and an emergency path opened to let residents out was deemed too dangerous.
âIt wonât be easy or quick but we count on returning Portofino next summer to the millions of tourists who come to visit it,â regional governor Giovanni Toti said.
He added that the Genoa region alone had suffered tens of millions of eurosâ worth of damage â" a price tag that could rise to hundreds of millions in the long term.
Italyâs civil protection agency described the weather as âone of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 yearsâ.
Venice was inundated by near-re cord flooding on Monday Ferocious storms drove high winds, which reached up to 180 kilometres (110 miles) an hour, and hundreds of trees were torn up by their roots in the Italian capital.Topics
- Extreme weather
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