100,000 hectares of forest destroyed, eight communities unreachable. Damage of one billion euros.
The heavy storms this week in northern Italy have devastated much of the Dolomites province of Belluno. Civil Defense chief Angelo Borrelli spoke on Saturday about an “apocalyptic situation”. In several places, there is no electricity for days, partly no drinking water. After a landslide on Friday, some villages are not accessible.
“The whole of Italy has suffered from the storms, but the situation in the Belluno area is particularly bad,” said Borrelli at a meeting with the President of the Veneto Region, Luca Zaia. Eight small mountain communities are still isolated. “100,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed by landslides, roads have to be rebuilt, we need to intervene immediately because of the risk of depopulation of these mountain communities,” Zaia said. 3,000 volunteers are on duty to clean the streets after landslides and floods.
Serious damage was also reported in the province of Udine. The forest in the Saisera Valley in Tarvisio has been largely destroyed. The storm tore acres into the forest. Thousands of trees were uprooted, reported the foresters.
Veneto President Zaia telephoned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who plans to provide first funding for the affected areas during the course of next week. The damage in Veneto amounts to one billion euros, said Zaia. In Venice, there were again floods, at sometimes the water level was more than 108 centimeters but below the level of which was Monday. The floods of recent days also affected St. Mark’s Basilica.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani visited Terracina on Saturday. The seaside resort south of Rome was hit by gusts of wind on Monday – two people have died and several others were injured. The damages to buildings, agriculture, and beaches are huge.
Because of the bad weather front, there were also problems on Saturday in Sicily. After heavy rainfall, the railway line between Palermo and Agrigento was interrupted on Saturday. In the municipality of Sciacca in the south of the island the bridges collapsed. Parts of the small towns were isolated. Storms also raged in Sardinia.
In the heavy storms, more people died on Saturday. Divers harbored nine bodies from a flooded country house in Sicily during a “dramatic operation” during the night of Sunday, according to the fire department on Twitter.
The disaster happened not far from Palermo in Casteldaccia. There, the water level of a river had risen rapidly because of the heavy rains in the area. The dead are members of two families, and among the victims are small children.
The mayor of Casteldaccia, Giovanni Di Giacinto, said the river did not present any danger in the past. The news agency Ansa also reported another dead man who was found in the Sicilian Vicari.
In many places in Italy, there is a lack of electricity and drinking water. On Sunday, Interior Minister Matteo Salvini wanted to visit the affected region of Veneto.