At least 10 dead in floods in central Italy

At least 10 dead in floods in central Italy

At least 10 dead in floods in central Italy

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CANTIANO, Italy, Sept 16 (Reuters) – At least 10 people were killed by torrential overnight rains and flooding in central Italy’s Marche region, officials said on Friday, as rescue workers continued the search for three missing.

In Cantiano, a village near neighboring Umbria, residents were clearing mud from the streets, Reuters footage showed, after torrents swept through several towns leaving a trail of stuck and damaged cars.

“My fruit shop turned upside down,” Luciana Agostinelli, a local resident, told Reuters.

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About 400 millimeters (15.75 inches) of rain fell in two to three hours, the civil protection agency said, a third of the amount normally received in a year.

“It was like an earthquake,” Ludovico Caverni, mayor of Serra Sant’Abbondio, another village hit by the floods, told state radio RAI.

The head of the national civil protection agency, Fabrizio Curcio, met with local officials in Ancona, capital of Marche, to assess the damage, while party bosses campaigning for Italy’s September 25 election expressed their solidarity.

Footage released by firefighters showed rescue workers on rafts trying to evacuate people in the seaside town of Senigallia, while others tried to clear an underground passage of debris.

Paola Pino d’Astore, an expert at the Italian Society of Environmental Geology (SIGEA), told Reuters that the floods are due to climate change and are not easy to predict.

“It’s an irreversible phenomenon, a sample of what our future will look like,” she said.

About 300 firefighters are operating in the area and have rescued dozens of people who had climbed onto roofs and trees at night to escape the flooding, the fire department said.

Stefano Aguzzi, head of civil protection for the Marche regional government, said the rain was much heavier than anticipated.

“We got a normal rain alert, but nobody expected something like this,” he told reporters.

Enrico Letta, leader of the center-left Democratic Party, said he would suspend the Marche campaign “as a sign of mourning” and allow his local activists to participate in efforts to help flood-stricken communities.

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Additional reporting by Federico Maccioni, Alvise Armellini, Gavin Jones and Angelo Amante, edited by Hugh Lawson and Paul Simao

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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