Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Sardinia hit by cyclone and flooding, at least 16 killed

At least 16 people have been killed in flooding prompted by a cyclone and heavy rain that swept through the Italian island of Sardinia.

A number of people are reported missing after rivers burst their banks, sweeping cars away and causing bridges to collapse.

The worst-hit area appears to be in and around the north-eastern city of Olbia.

Prime Minister Enrico Letta has spoken of a "national tragedy" and a state of emergency is expected to be declared.

"We're at maximum alert," Giorgio Cicalo, an official from Sardinia's civil protection authority, told Italy's Rai TV.

"We haven't seen a situation as extreme as this, perhaps for decades. Especially because it's been across the whole island."

Hundreds of people across the Mediterranean island have been moved from their homes because of the flooding caused by Cyclone Cleopatra.

Sardinian Governor Ugo Cappellacci told Italian TV that the situation on the island was "dramatic".

Olbia Mayor Gianni Giovanelli was quoted by Sky TG24 as saying that the city had been hit by an "apocalyptic"' storm.

Cyclones are extremely rare in the Mediterranean.

Reports from the island say flood waters in some areas were up to 3m (10ft) high.

A Brazilian family of four drowned when their basement flat in the town of Arzachena, in the northern part of the island, filled with water. Two children were among the dead.

Three people died when a road bridge collapsed on to their car near Olbia, according to local media.

In a separate incident, a mother and her daughter were found dead in their car after it was swept away by floods.

Among the victims was a police officer who died after a bridge collapsed as he tried to escort an ambulance.

Tuesday 19 November 2013



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