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News > Italy

Italian PM Meloni Tours Flooded Areas in North

  • PM Claudia Meloni (C) at the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy, May 21, 2023.

    PM Claudia Meloni (C) at the Emilia-Romagna region, Italy, May 21, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @PolicyMaker_mag

Published 23 May 2023

The north-central region was lashed by over six months' worth of rain in a 36-hour span last week, leaving at least 14 dead in its wake.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has returned early from the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima to visit Italy's flood-ravaged region of Emilia-Romagna as details from what is being called the worst floods to hit Italy in a century began to be calculated.


Death Toll Rises To 13 In Italy Floods

The north-central Italian region was lashed by more than six months' worth of rain in a 36-hour span on Tuesday and Wednesday last week, leaving at least 14 dead in its wake.

As of Monday, more than 36,000 people were evacuated from their homes and around 5,000 were still being housed in emergency government centers including cinemas and museums. Over 20,000 people were still without power.

On her visit to the area on Sunday, Meloni said the damage to the region was so far "incalculable." Adolfo Urso, Italy's minister of enterprises, said on Monday that a cabinet meeting scheduled for Tuesday would see the approval of a support package for the region.

Also on Monday, Italy's main agri-food sector association Coldiretti estimated that the damage to agriculture and livestock in Emilia-Romagna would be felt for years.

The area is a top Italian producer of wheat, strawberries, apricots, peaches, pears, plums, and apples, as well as pork, poultry, beef and other types of meat.

Around 15 million plants would have to be pulled up and replanted in the region and that at least 400 million kg of wheat has been lost after fields became submerged. Around 250,000 cattle, pigs, sheep and goats were at risk and that around 400 poultry farms had been flooded.

"The flood that hit the Romagna area also puts biodiversity at risk, with entire productions being canceled after the farmers had managed in recent years to save them from extinction," Coldiretti said.

Meloni departed the G7 summit early to rush to the scene of the flood, touring the damaged areas in high plastic boots and wading into submerged fields to assess the damage before returning to Rome. She vowed to stand by those who suffered from the unprecedented events.

"It will be necessary to work on compensation and reconstruction. For this, a complete estimate and a streamlining of procedures will be necessary and we are ready to do our part," Meloni said.

Italy has suffered under the impact of different waves of severe weather for a year and a half, with a dry period over the winter between 2021-2022 giving way to a record-setting drought and high temperatures last summer, resulting in dozens of deaths and slashed national agricultural production by as much as a third.

Water levels in many parts of the nation's network of rivers dropped to all-time lows and a lack of snowfall in the winter of 2022-2023 gave rise to concerns that the coming summer could be another difficult one for Italian farmers and travelers in the country.

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