9 people died as a result of flooding in the Marche region of Italy

9 people died as a result of flooding in the Marche region of Italy
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ROME – Several hours of extraordinary rain caused flooding in central Italy early Friday, leaving at least 10 people dead. According to authorities, several are dead and missing.

As the rain stopped, rescuers began searching for survivors, wading through mud and around fallen trees. Some people took shelter on roofs or clung to branches during the flood. Italian media reported several mixed accounts, including that of a mother and daughter who were believed to have been swept away as they exited the car.

“All citizens are advised not to leave their homes or go to higher elevations,” one city wrote in a lettered bulletin about the high water mark on Facebook.

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While Italy has seen more deadly floods in decades, the incident marked another example of extreme weather after a record drought that destroyed lakes and rivers and destroyed crops. Fabrizio Curcio, the head of Italy’s civil protection department, said that the flooded area had “seen about a third of the rainfall of a year” in a matter of hours.

“There were moments of terror with really unusual water levels,” Curcio said.

A spokesman for the civil defense department said 400 millimeters, or about 15.75 inches, of rain had fallen in the area.

While it is difficult to attribute any one event to climate change, experts say extreme weather events are becoming more common, including in Italy, which has seen melting Alpine glaciers, summer forest fires and rising seas ravaging coastal cities.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said during a visit to the flooded region that flood risks have become a “climate change emergency” and will require steps to prevent them, including investment in infrastructure.

“It also means fighting climate change,” Draghi said.

On Friday, flooding covered the Marche region, from the inland hills to the Adriatic coast. Some mayors of the affected cities noted that there were no signs that such an extreme event was coming.

“[There was] only a yellow warning from civil defense for wind and rain,” Sassoferrato mayor Maurizio Greci told Italian radio. “Nothing can predict such a disaster.”

Italy’s Marche region experienced deadly floods in September. 16. The rescuers searched for the missing persons. (Video: Reuters)

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Photos from Friday showed people starting to clean up, wading through mud, holding shovels and drying their belongings.

Francesco Acquaroli, head of the Marche region, wrote on his verified Facebook page that he had spoken with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Draghi, who offered support for “every necessary need”.

“The pain of what happened is deep,” Acquaroli said.

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