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Severe weather alert issued for southern Italy, at least 2 killed

October 25, 2021
A wave of heavy rainfalls has been hitting several areas since Sunday. — Courtesy photo
A wave of heavy rainfalls has been hitting several areas since Sunday. — Courtesy photo

ROME — Severe weather battered southern Italy on Monday, with alerts issued for four regions and at least two victims registered in the major island of Sicily.

A wave of heavy rainfalls has been hitting several areas since Sunday, with some 400 emergency calls to firefighters in the southern island and further 180 in the Calabria region over the last 24 hours.

A couple aged 67 and 54 went missing after their car was swept away by a flood in the province of Catania, east Sicily, since Sunday. As of mid-Monday, the body of the man was recovered while searching activities were still ongoing for his wife, the Fire Corp stated.

The mayor of Catania ordered schools, public gardens, and cemeteries to remain closed on Monday due to severe damages and flooding registered across the city.

Beside Catania, the most affected areas included Sicily's Siracusa, and Calabria's Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia cities, according to firefighters.

Four men were stranded by the sudden rise of a local river in the Trapani province and rescued by amphibious emergency teams in the early hours of Monday.

Meanwhile, the Italian Civil Protection confirmed the red weather alert (signalling maximum risk) for Sicily and Calabria issued on Sunday for further 24 hours, and issued a new orange alert (medium risk) for Apulia and Basilicata.

The Calabria region -- the toe of Italy's boot -- saw intense rainfalls and strong winds hit especially the province and city of Reggio Calabria, where the mayor ordered the closure of the waterfront.

In Crotone, a smaller city on the Ionian coast, at least 80 people were evacuated from their neighborhood near a local stream as a precaution.

The alert was expected to remain high in the next days, since the Air Force Meteorological Service of the Defence Ministry forecast exceptionally heavy rainfalls would continue throughout the week. — Agencies


October 25, 2021
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