At least ten people were killed in violent weather that struck on the night of Thursday September 15 to Friday September 16 the Marches, a region in central Italy, on the edge of the Adriatic; which puts climate change at the heart of the political debate one week before the legislative elections.
“At this stage we deplore ten dead and four missing, but unfortunately these figures are constantly changing”announced at a press conference the head of government, Mario Draghi, expected at the end of the day in the small village of Ostra, particularly devastated.
Among the four people missing is an 8-year-old child who was in the car with his mother. The latter was saved by firefighters, but the force of the current took the child away, according to the AGI news agency.
Mario Draghi, who expressed his “deep condolences for the victims”, declared a state of emergency in the Marches and released an initial sum of five million euros to finance first aid. According to Corriere della Sera, about 400 mm of rain fell Thursday evening in two hours on the Marchesthe equivalent of six months of precipitation for this region.
In Ancona, a large port on the Adriatic, several neighborhoods were left without electricity and telephone. Schools have been closed in the most affected areas. Firefighter video shot in Senigallia, a port town in the Marche region, shows rescuers in deserted streets, waist deep in water, searching for people while rowing a dinghy .
#Maltempo #Ancona, 180 #vigilidelfuoco al lavoro: salvate nella notte decine di persone rifugiatesi sui tetti delle… https://t.co/yaVvJuwNyd
The water also invaded the cellars, and many cars were carried away by the force of the current or buried under mudslides. Falling trees and landslides have cut off many local roads, making it difficult for rescuers to work.
“Dozens of people who had taken refuge on trees and the roofs of houses were rescued”the firefighters announced on Twitter on Friday, reporting a record of “more than 150 interventions”. The mayors of the localities affected by these violent storms deplored the absence of warning from the competent authorities.
“It’s called ‘climate crisis’, not ‘bad weather'”
Many politicians expressed their support for the Marche region and its population, although other neighboring regions were also affected but more lightly, without deploring any casualties.
From the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, to the head of government, Mario Draghi, via Matteo Salvini, leader of the Sovereignty League, Enrico Letta, leader of the Democratic Party (PD, center left) and Giorgia Meloni, leader of the post -fascist Fratelli d’Italia (FDI), all expressed their solidarity.
“How can we think that the fight against climate change is not the priority”also wrote on social networks Mr. Letta. “Italy and Europe must take climate change seriously”wrote on Twitter the European Commissioner for the Economy, the Italian Paolo Gentiloni.
“It’s called climate crisis, not bad weather”reacted, for its part, on Twitter the Italian branch of “Fridays for Future”, the youth movement for the climate, while the president of the Italian Red Cross, Francesco Rocca, said “concerned by the increase in extreme climatic phenomena”.
“What happened is an exceptional event, which no one expected. Some 400 mm of rain fell in six hours on a territory where generally it falls 1,500 per year “explained to Agence France-Presse (AFP) Paola Pino D’Astore, adviser to the Italian Society of Environmental Geology (SIGEA). “It’s definitely linked to climate change, and we have to get used to it and adapt. What happened is (…) a taste of the future »she warned.
Like its European neighbours, Italy is affected by climate change. The Po plain, the largest river in the country, experienced its worst drought in seventy years this summer. And on July 11, 11 people were killed when a section of the Marmolada glacier collapsed in the Italian Alps.