‘Apocalyptic’ Flooding Hits Italy, Balkans, Killing Many

Friday, May 19, 2023 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

ROME/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – “Apocalyptic” flooding continued to hit northern Italy, with at least 13 deaths being reported, and in the Balkans where the army and rescue workers struggled to reach people in flood-hit areas of Croatia, Bosnia, and Slovenia.

In Italy’s north, the deputy governor of Emilia-Romagna, Irene Priolo, warned the death toll might rise as many remained unaccounted for in flooding that forced the evacuation of more than 10,000 people.

Authorities in the northern Italian province of Ravenna, a tourist area famed for its Byzantine-era mosaics, ordered about 14,000 people to leave their homes due to fears that three rivers could overflow their banks there.

Yet powerful rapids swelling from rivers have already washed away bridges, submerged cars, and left thousands homeless. Firefighters were seen wading through water with flashlights, looking for survivors.

That arrived too late for a farmer died after he defied floodwaters to try to save equipment on his property, officials said. His wife was among those still missing.

Amid death and destruction, many were rescued, including a pregnant woman, an older man, and a small child seen clutching for dear life amid rising floodwaters.

Rescue helicopters also plucked people from rooftops as floodwaters rose ever higher in homes.

WOMAN RESCUED

In one rescue, a coast guard member pulled a woman out through a skylight from her home and held her tight as the two were winched to a hovering helicopter and taken inside.

“Even upper floors aren’t safe anymore,” Gian Luca Zattini, mayor of Forli’, one of the hardest-hit towns, told Sky TG24 TV.

“I’ve lived here since 1979,” said Cesena resident Edoardo Amadori. “I’ve seen floods go by, but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Italian Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci appealed for a new nationwide hydraulic engineering plan to adapt to the impact of increasing incidents of what he said were floods and landslides.

More than 20 rivers have burst their banks in Italy after six months’ rainfall fell in a day and a half. As a result, 50,000 people lost electricity, and more than 100,000 mobile phones or landline use, emergency authorities explained.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was traveling to the Group of Seven meeting in Japan, said her government was monitoring the situation and prepared to approve emergency aid.

The situation wasn’t much better in the Balkans

CROATIA ARMY

In Croatia, rescuers and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to help people in parts of the country hit by floods this week.

Authorities in Bosnia declared a state of emergency, and dozens of landslides have been reported in eastern Slovenia.

The mayor of the town of Bosanska Krupa in Bosnia said that hundreds of homes had been flooded. “We have an apocalypse,” Amin Halitovic told the regional N1 network.

“We can no longer count the flooded buildings. It’s never been like this.”

Several scientists have linked the disasters to “human-caused climate change,” including “global warming,” while other colleagues have questioned these warnings.

Yet with large areas of Europe underwater, Britain’s government sounded the alarm about what it says are rising sea levels.

The British Environment Agency suggested that
tidal flood defenses must be raised 15 years earlier than expected to protect London, the capital, and other areas against flooding.

PROTECTING LONDON

An updated plan seeks to ensure that communities in London and the wider river Thames Estuary “are ready to adapt to the impact of climate change,” authorities said.

The Environment Agency sets out how to protect more than 1.4 million people and nearly $400 billion in properties from tidal floods.

Its plan says defenses must be raised upstream of the Thames Barrier by 2050.

The Environment Agency “has assured” Londoners that the Thames Barrier continues to operate reliably and effectively as part of the broader flood defense system.

It expects the barrier “to continue to protect London until 2070.”

However, to further protect the capital, it has reportedly committed to deciding on an end-of-century option by 2040.

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