Volunteers at work at the Rossini Theater in Lugo, Italy, 20 May 2023. EFE/EPA/PASQUALE BOVE

More than 10,000 displaced by floods in Italy return home

Rome, May 21 (EFE).- More than 10,000 people displaced in recent days by floods in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna have been able to return to their homes, while the work of cleaning and control of landslides continued Sunday.

The latest report puts the number of displaced people at 26,000, 10,000 fewer than Saturday’s tally, although the “red alert” remains in effect throughout the region until Monday due to the risk of landslides, according to the latest official bulletin, which said the fatalities stood at 14.

An excavator tries to rebuild embankment of the Sillaro river after it broke the embankment, destroying a house and flooded the town in attempt to block the water that is flooding the surrounding countryside, in Lugo, Emilia-Romagna region, Italy, 20 May 2023.EFE/EPA/BOVE-ZANI

Most of the displaced are from the province of Ravenna (19,500), the most affected, while another 4,918 are from Forlì-Cesena and 1,906 from Bologna.

More than 5,300 people are still being sheltered in Civil Protection facilities, schools and sports centers, while the rest have found alternative accommodation in second homes or the homes of relatives or friends.

As the population, emergency personnel and volunteers work to clear the streets and drain the water, authorities fear landslides after some 20 rivers in the region overflowed this week due to the rains.

Landslide near Monterenzio that blocks access to the town, in Monterenzio, Emilia-Romagna region, Italy, 20 May 2023. EFE/EPA/MAX CAVALLARI

Civil Protection reported on Sunday that 43 municipalities were still flooded and some 305 landslides were affecting 54 villages.

The natural disaster, which regional authorities believe will cost “billions of euros”, has destroyed numerous infrastructures and 622 roads remained closed on Sunday.

Prime minister Giorgia Meloni left the G7 summit in Hiroshima early and on Sunday visited the affected areas before calling an extraordinary Council of Ministers on Tuesday to disburse the first aid and tax exemptions.

The danger of further flooding remains, with officials closely monitoring the Po, the largest river in the country, which flows from the Alps across northern Italy into the Adriatic, near the areas that are currently struggling. EFE

People work to clean a water-logged street following the flood that is affecting Emilia-Romagna region, in Faenza, Italy, 19 May 2023. EFE/EPA/FABRIZIO ZANI