At least nine people have died, with a further six missing, following torrential rains and flooding in Italy. A reported 50cm of rain fell over the course of 24 hours, covering a range from the Alps in the north to Sicily in the south, with the regions of Liguria and Tuscany hit hardest. Six of the victims came from a single village in Liguria called Borghetta Vara, where floods and mudslides ripped through the village and destroyed at least one building.
Bridges and roads were swept away in floods and mudslides throughout Liguria, leaving many towns and villages completely cut off from the outside world. Officials have warned that the rail system and major roads in Liguria are to remain closed until at least Sunday and most likely longer as repair operations and clean up take place. The Defence Minister has said that the military is being readied to help search for missing victims of the floods and deliver aid supplies to villages that have been cut off. According to Italian news reports two helicopters and up to 100 soldiers are expected to take part in the aid mission. Many areas have also been cut off from power supplies and the telephone network.
Rescue teams have reported difficulty reaching many of the hardest hit areas of the country. With roads washed away, several towns along the coast have instead been evacuated by sea. The storm front also hit Rome; however, the capital remained unscathed despite torrential rain which caused several traffic jams. There are fears that there is a lack of fresh drinking water in many areas that have been cut off and authorities insist they are moving as fast as possible to ensure supplies reach the areas where they are needed.
More heavy rainfall and storms are expected in southern regions of the country later in the week.