Flooding Makes Northern Italy ‘Unrecognizable’ as Thousands Evacuate, 8 Dead

Some 14 rivers broke their banks as residents were urged to get to higher ground immediately.


Flooding killed at least eight people in Italy and around 5,000 people have been forced to evacuate.

Along with the dead, French news agency Ultimora reported 36 municipalities have flooded and there have been 250 landslides.

Days of heavy rain have caused swollen rivers to burst their banks across northern Italy and the Balkans. Officials warned residents to get to higher ground Wednesday amid fears there could be more flooding.

"The rainfall is not over, it will continue for several hours," the deputy head of the Civil Protection Agency, Titti Postiglione, told the SkyTG24 news channel. "We are facing a very, very complicated situation."

Fourteen rivers broke their banks, forcing people in cities such as Cesena to climb onto the roof of their buildings, where firefighters rescued them with helicopters or rubber dingies, Reuters reported.

"Do not go near the rivers. Those who live in areas close to watercourses should move to higher floors," regional chief Stefano Bonaccini said on Facebook.

"Much of our territory is unrecognizable," he added.

In Italy, the mayor of the city of Cesena, Enzo Lattuca, posted a video early Wednesday on Facebook to warn that continued dowpours in the Emilia-Romagna region could flood the Savio river and smaller tributaries for a second day.

He urged residents to move to upper floors of their homes and avoid low-lying areas and riverbanks.

Some bridges and streets were closed after rivers of mud sloshed through town and into basements and storefronts.

“The situation could again become critical,” he said. “We cannot in any way lower our guard.”

Some regional train routes remained suspended Wednesday around Bologna and Ravenna, with severe delays elsewhere, the Italian state railway said.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who was traveling home from the G-7 meeting in Japan, said the government was monitoring the situation and was prepared to approve emergency aid.

A Formula One race that was scheduled for this weekend was canceled due to the flooding.

In the Balkans, the swollen Una river flooded parts of northern Croatia and northwestern Bosnia, where authorities announced a state of emergency.

The mayor of the town of Bosanska Krupa in Bosnia said hundreds of homes had been flooded.

“We have an apocalypse,” Amin Halitovic told regional N1 network. “We can no longer count the flooded buildings. It’s never been like this.”

In Croatia, hundreds of soldiers and rescue teams continued bringing food and other necessities to people in flood-hit areas who have been isolated in their homes. No casualties have been reported so far.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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