The Daily Telegraph

Boy swept from mother’s arms as several die in Italian floods

- By Our Foreign Staff

AT LEAST nine people have died in flash floods in Italy and four remain missing, including a boy who was swept out of his mother’s arms.

The floods left towns and villages in the central region of Marche covered in thick mud and detritus, with cars overturned by rivers that broke their banks.

“It was as if the wall of a dam broke,” said Riccardo Pasqualini, the mayor of Barbara, one of the affected towns.

“There was a terrific noise and then a wave of water. It was not a flood, it was a tsunami.”

Around 16 inches of rain fell in a few hours – the equivalent of around a third of the rain that would normally fall in an entire year, officials said.

One of those missing is an eight-yearold boy, who was pulled away from his mother’s embrace as they attempted to get out of their car.

“There were moments of terror, with really extraordin­ary quantities of water,” said Fabrizio Curcio, from Italy’s civil protection agency.

Residents took refuge on the roofs of buildings or clung on to trees as the flood waters surged through villages.

Dozens of people were treated for hypothermi­a and injuries, and firefighte­rs used dinghies to rescue some of those affected. Carlo Manfredi, the mayor of Castellone di Suasa, said the town faced an “apocalypti­c situation”.

Italy has experience­d a drought for months, parching the land and making it unable to absorb the heavy rain, causing flooding. Climatolog­ists say parts of the Mediterran­ean, including Italy, are undergoing a tropicalis­ation process, with heatwaves followed by violent thundersto­rms and heavy rain.

Italy has experience­d more than 1,600 extreme weather events this year, five times the number of a decade ago.

These include lightning strikes, heavy rains, tornadoes and hail, according to Coldiretti, a national associatio­n for farmers.

“The multiplica­tion of extreme events has caused more than €6billion [£5.3billion] of damage to agricultur­e in 2022,” amounting to 10 per cent of national production, said the organisati­on, adding that this was the consequenc­e of climate change.


Number of extreme weather events such as lightning, heavy rain and tornadoes that Italy has experience­d so far this year

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