People move in a rubber boat in the flooded city of Cesena, Italy. Photo: 17 May 2023

In Italy’s northern Emilia-Romagna area, flooding brought on by heavy rains has claimed the lives of eight people and left a number of others missing, according to officials.

A total of 5,000 people had been evacuated, some of whom required a helicopter rescue from roofs.

14 rivers, according to the officials, have overflowed their banks, flooding 23 villages. Ravenna’s mayor claims that the present-day city is “unrecognisable.”

This weekend’s F1 Grand Prix in Emilia-Romagna has now been postponed.

Following discussions on Wednesday between local officials and the race’s promoters in Imola, it was decided that the event could not go place.

F1 race in Emilia-Romagna is postponed

In the upcoming days, more rain is predicted in the area.

According to Ravenna Mayor Michele de Pascale, this has likely been the worst night in Romagna’s history. “Ravenna has sustained such damage that it is no longer recognisable.”

Gian Luca Zattini, the mayor of the neighbouring city of Forli, was quoted as saying that his community was “on its knees, devastated, and in pain.”

Rescuers wade through floodwaters in Forli, Italy. Photo: 17 May 2023

Residents of Cesena scrambled up onto roofs to wait for rescue by boat or helicopter.

According to Sofia Bettiza in Italy for the BBC, the mayor of Castel Bolognese called the situation “catastrophic” The mayor also said that thousands of residents in single-story houses needed to be saved.

Our source also notes that there isn’t any electricity in the town right now. In schools and gyms all around Emilia-Romagna, people are seeking refuge.

Residents were cautioned not to approach the rivers by regional president Stefano Bonaccini. A message he made on Facebook on Wednesday advised those who live near waterways to relocate to higher levels.

A crisis conference with representatives of civil protection was presided over by Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.

Some regions were unable to measure the rainfall since the amount was more than what their devices could register.

According to BBC Weather Presenter Chris Fawkes, Northern Italy has transitioned from severe drought to flooding rain, with the most recent downpour brought on by Storm Minerva.

“This area was also hit with torrential rain at the start of the month, leading to flooding, and this will have left saturated soils, less able to soak up this latest round of heavy rain,” he said.

It stands in sharp contrast to the emergency that the Italian government proclaimed last year as a result of a continuous, severe drought. Over the next couple of weeks, Italy is likely to experience more violent downpours.

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