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