Italy was hit by storms again. On Saturday evening, the authorities announced the evacuation of about a thousand people.
After severe storms of the past few days, parts of Italy were once again hit by heavy rain and storms on Sunday night. The holiday region of Tuscany was particularly affected. The region’s president, Eugenio Gianni, said that electricity was cut off in more than 16,000 homes, and about 1,200 people in the region were evacuated as a precaution. At least seven people died as a result of the storms that struck the region since Thursday evening.
The severe storms particularly affected the provinces of Prato and Pistoia. The Bisenzio River and many small streams overflowed its banks and flooded entire cities. The water remains high there. In particular, the places through which the Bisenzio River flows continue to struggle with water masses. “The water was coming from all sides, from here and there, and you couldn’t stop it. “We have lost everything,” a man said on Italian television.
Meanwhile, clean-up work is underway in communities where waters have already receded after heavy rains and flooding on Friday night. “Tuscany has been wounded, but we are already rebuilding. Forza!”, Gianni wrote in a Facebook post. Mud and devastation characterize the picture. Residents bulldoze clumps of clay from the streets and remove damaged houses and apartments. Wet furniture and destroyed objects pile up on the sides of the streets.
The damage in the area is enormous. On Sunday, Gianni spoke about the damage caused by the storms at about half a billion euros. A state of emergency was declared in the region on Friday. The government in Rome has allocated Tuscany an initial payment of five million euros for initial assistance.
The storms that occurred on Sunday night caused great concern among meteorologists and civil defense experts. Civil Protection Chief Fabrizio Curcio warned of new rains on Saturday and called for caution. The soil was already “saturated” from the rain of the past few days and was unable to absorb any additional precipitation. Experts from the National Research Council (CNR) said there had not been so much rain in such a short period of time in the region in decades. According to Curcio, there is still an increased risk of new floods and landslides.
Italy has already been hit by several severe storms this year that have led to deaths. The Emilia-Romagna region faced severe floods and landslides in May. 15 people were killed. Criticisms had previously been expressed of the emergency plans drawn up by Civil Defense at that time. The Minister responsible, Nelo Musumeci, announced a national hydraulic engineering plan to prepare for more frequent floods and landslides. There is also a current demand for better protection against such extreme weather events.
In France, where the situation had previously remained tense, cleaning work continued over the weekend. On Sunday morning, 137,000 homes were still without electricity. French media reported that an employee of the electricity company Enedis died while working at the weekend. Since Saturday evening, a new storm has also struck western France, with some wind speeds reaching 150 kilometers per hour. Another 160,000 families were cut off from electricity.
Meanwhile, at least four small landslides were reported in Slovenia due to storms and heavy rain. In Radovljica, northern Slovenia, on the Sava River, a house was also threatened from the ground, but civil protection officers managed to secure the area, STA reported. On Sunday, water levels in rivers in the east of the country are expected to rise, but they are expected to decrease again as of Monday.