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3 dead as heavy rain in northern Italy burst riverbanks and flooded towns


Officials in northern Italy warned residents to head to higher ground on Wednesday amid fears rain-swollen rivers could burst their banks again, after flooding killed at least three people and forced the evacuation of some 5,000 people.

Cesena city mayor Enzo Lattuca posted a video early Wednesday on Facebook warning that continued heavy rains in the Emilia-Romagna region could again flood the Savio river and smaller tributaries.

He urged residents to move to higher floors of their homes and avoid riverbanks, and announced the closure of some bridges and streets to traffic after heavy flooding sent rivers of mud flowing through the city. .

“The situation could become critical again,” he said. “There is no way we can let our guard down.”

Civil Protection Minister Nello Musemeci confirmed that three people had been killed and some 5,000 people evacuated.

The agency’s deputy chief, Titti Postiglione, said rescue operations for those in need of emergency evacuations were particularly difficult given that many roads and roads were flooded.

Speaking on Sky TG24, she noted that the affected flooded area covered a wide swath of four provinces which, until the heavy rains, had been parched by a prolonged drought.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said the government was monitoring the situation and “stands ready to intervene with the necessary assistance”.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.