“All citizens are ordered not to leave their homes and go to higher floors,” one hard-hit city wrote in an all-caps bulletin on Facebook as the water level rose.
While Italy has had deadlier floods for decades, the event marked another example of extreme weather, following a record drought that had sapped lakes and rivers and devastated crops. Fabrizio Curcio, head of Italy’s civil protection department, said the area flooded in a matter of hours saw “about a third of the rain normally received in a year.”
“There were moments of terror with really extraordinary water levels,” Curcio said.
Assman, from the civil department protection, said the area had been hit with 400 millimeters, or about 15.75 inches, of rain.
While it’s hard to connect a single event to climate change, experts say moments of extreme weather are becoming more common, including in Italy, where alpine glaciers have melted, summer wildfires and sea levels rise. of the sea that is eroding the coastal cities.
On a visit to the flooded region, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said flood risks had become an “emergency with climate change” and would require preventive measures, including investment in infrastructure.
“It also means addressing climate change,” Draghi said.
Friday’s floods spread across the Marche region, from the hills in the interior to the Adriatic coast. Some mayors of the most affected cities pointed out that there were no indications that such an extreme event could occur.
“[There was] just a yellow civil protection alert for wind and rain,” Maurizio Greci, mayor of Sassoferrato, told Italian radio. “Nothing could predict such a disaster.”
Photos from Friday showed people starting cleanup work, trudging through the mud, holding shovels, drying their belongings.
The head of the Marche region, Francesco Acquaroli, wrote on his verified Facebook page that he had spoken with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and with Draghi, who offered support for “all necessary needs”.
“The pain of what he went through is deep,” Acquaroli wrote.
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