Massive flooding in Sardinia after storm

2013-11-19 17:03
A violent rainstorm that flooded entire parts of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia has led to the deaths of at least nine people. (Alessandra Chergia, AP)

A violent rainstorm that flooded entire parts of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia has led to the deaths of at least nine people. (Alessandra Chergia, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rome - The Mediterranean island of Sardinia, prized by the jet-set for its white sand beaches and crystal-clear seas, was a flood-ravaged mud bath on Tuesday after a freak torrential rainstorm killed at least 17 people, downed bridges and swept away cars.

Italian Premier Enrico Letta declared a state of emergency and set aside €20m for emergency relief, saying the priority was reaching remote areas, saving the lives of those still unaccounted for and providing for those left homeless.

The island, which draws royals, entrepreneurs and ordinary tourists alike during the dry, peak summer months, received more than 440mm of rain in 24 hours on Monday - half the amount it normally receives in a year, officials said.

Italy's civil protection chief, Franco Gabrielli, said the death toll may still rise as crews reach isolated areas in the countryside where some homes are submerged.

Transport was hampered by rivers of cocoa-coloured mud gushing over roads that forced the closure of several major thoroughfares, including a tunnel into the city of Olbia, according to the Anas company which runs Italy's roads and highways.

Olbia Mayor Gianni Giovannelli said the city had been destroyed by the "apocalyptic" storm, with bridges felled and water levels reaching 3m in some places. He described the ferocity of the storm's rains as a "water bomb".

Gabrielli defended the civil protection's alert system, which had signalled an "elevated" risk of the storm on much of Sardinia, the highest level of alert. He warned against day-after finger-pointing, saying evacuation orders had been issued and ignored and that no weather forecast could have predicted the "exceptional" degree of devastation.

Sardinia's governor, Ugo Cappellacci, said the 17 dead included a family of four, reportedly of Brazilian origin, in Arzachena.

Local newspaper L'Unione Sarda said a policeman helping to escort an ambulance died when the car he was travelling in was submerged in the collapse of a bridge in Dorgali. In hard-hit Gallura, three people died after their car was swept away in the collapse of another bridge, the paper said.

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean and is one of Italy's autonomous regions. While it's known to tourists for its pristine Costa Smeralda beaches, the island's interior is known for its sheep and pastoral life. Sardinians are famed for their exceptional longevity.

Other parts of Italy were also hit by heavy rains on Tuesday, including the capital, Rome, and Venice in the north, where residents and tourists donned rubber boots to slosh through a St. Marks' Square flooded from the "acqua alta" high tides that periodically submerge the lagoon city.

Read more on:    italy  |  weather  |  floods

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.