Severe Flooding Ravages Italy, Claiming Six Lives with One Person Missing
Severe Flooding Ravages Italy, Claiming Six Lives with One Person Missing

ROME - A devastating storm, named Ciaran, wreaked havoc on Italy, resulting in the loss of at least six lives and leaving one person unaccounted for. The storm unleashed relentless heavy rain and widespread flooding across northern and central regions of the country on Friday.

The Italian government swiftly responded by declaring a state of emergency in multiple areas of Tuscany, which bore the brunt of the catastrophic flooding. An allocation of 5 million euros ($5.3 million) was earmarked for emergency response and relief efforts, according to a report by the Xinhua news agency.

The affected provinces encompassed by the state of emergency include Florence, Livorno, Pisa, Pistoia, and Prato, as announced by the cabinet in an official statement.

The tragic toll of the storm's fury was heaviest in Tuscany, with six victims reported in the region. Regional governor Eugenio Giani convened an urgent civil protection meeting to address the crisis, expressing his deep concern.

Among the casualties were two elderly individuals, aged 84 and 85, who tragically lost their lives as floodwaters inundated their homes near the city of Prato. Additionally, a couple was discovered deceased near the town of Vinci, and another person met a similar fate in the Livorno area, according to reports from state-owned Rai News 24.

The flooding wrought havoc on transportation infrastructure, disrupting railway lines throughout Tuscany. Giani described the situation as "very serious" and confirmed his direct communication with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to coordinate relief efforts.

To confront this dire situation, over 550 firefighters have been deployed across the region, with support from teams belonging to the Civil Protection, the Red Cross, and the Defense Ministry.

Other regions of Italy remained on high alert due to storm surges menacing coastal cities and the looming hydrogeological risks stemming from the relentless downpour and fierce winds generated by Storm Ciaran.

The powerful winds and waves inflicted considerable damage on economic activities, residential properties, and public facilities along the seafront in northwest Liguria, as well as in Tuscany's Livorno.

Late on Friday, reports emerged that an off-duty firefighter had gone missing in northeast Veneto, which, while experiencing record rainfall, had not succumbed to flooding thus far. Governor Luca Zaia disclosed this concerning development on a television channel.

In response to the escalating risk, the civil protection department issued a red alert, signifying the highest level of danger in Italy's three-tier alert system, for hydrogeological perils in eastern Veneto on Saturday. Meanwhile, three other northern regions will remain on orange alert as they brace for further impact from Storm Ciaran.

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