Saturday, November 23, 2013

Cyclone Cleopatra: Sardinia storm death toll reaches 18 as state of emergency is declared

Heather Saul in the Independent (UK): The Italian island of Sardinia has been hit by a powerful cyclone, causing devastating flooding that has left at least 18 dead and many others missing. On Monday evening, Cyclone Cleopatra caused rivers to burst their banks, sweeping away cars and flooding homes. Over 450mm of rain fell in just an hour and a half during Monday night.

Italian Premier Enrico Letta declared a state of emergency and set aside 20 million euros (£17 million) for emergency relief, saying the priority was reaching remote area, saving the lives of those still unaccounted-for and providing for those left homeless. He described the event as "a national tragedy".

Regional governor Ugo Cappellacci told SkyTG24 television that the town of Olbia in the northeast had been flooded with several bridges down, and added there was a similar situation near the central town of Nuoro.

He said the city had been destroyed by the "apocalyptic" storm, with bridges felled by gushing, muddy rivers and water levels reaching 10ft (3m) high in some places....

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