Fierce storms that have killed 18 people in Italy this week also razed thousands of hectares of forest in the country’s devastated northern region, officials said today.
“It’s like after an earthquake,” Veneto governor Luca Zaia said. “Thousands of hectares of forest were razed to the ground, as if by a giant electric saw.”
In addition, 160,000 people in the region were left without electricity, Zaia said, adding that parts of the Dolomites were “reduced to looking like the surface of the moon.”
“We’ve been brought to our knees,” he said.
On Thursday, storms in northern Italy killed two pensioners aged 74 and 73 when a tree fell on their car in the Aosta Valley. Another person fell into a river in the Brescia region and was dragged under by the current.
These fatalities brought the total number of people killed during this week’s violent storms to 18.
Italy’s civil protection agency described the weather lashing Italy this week as “one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years”.
Bad weather continues in many parts of the country, with rain and thunderstorms today in parts of Lazio, Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Veneto and elsewhere.
Floods in Sicily have closed many roads and mayors have ordered schools, public parks, and underpasses shut.
Italian regions have been counting the costs of the storms over the past few days, particularly the six northern regions placed under red alert for several days.
The Genoa region alone had suffered tens of millions of euros worth of damage – a price tag that could rise to hundreds of millions in the long term, he added.
Venice was inundated by historic high water levels on Monday, leading to the evacuation of tourists from the centre.