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Wednesday April 17, 2024

Italy’s PM announces 2 billion euros to aid flood victims

"The region estimates damage worth more than 620 million euros caused to infrastructure, including roads and railways," reports say

By Web Desk
May 23, 2023
Rescuers from the Italian Coast Guards patrol a flooded street in Conselice, near Ravenna, after deadly floodwaters hit the Emilia-Romagna region, on May 21, 2023. — AFP
Rescuers from the Italian Coast Guards patrol a flooded street in Conselice, near Ravenna, after deadly floodwaters hit the Emilia-Romagna region, on May 21, 2023. — AFP

After suffering severe losses from recent floods, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Tuesday unveiled a two-billion-euro package to help the affected northeastern areas.

Last week, catastrophic floods in Emilia Romagna, claimed the lives of 14 people, left thousands homeless and left swathes of farmland submerged, AFP reported.

Following an emergency cabinet meeting, she announced help for households, businesses, farms, transport systems, schools, healthcare services and the tourism industry, while cautioning that the full extent of the damage has still to be determined.

"This first measure provides for a budget of over two billion euros for areas affected by the floods," said Meloni, who visited the worst-hit areas of the Emilia Romagna region on Sunday.

The report further explained that some areas still remained under water as six months' worth of rain fell in a span of 36 hours, after one week.

Meloni, who returned home early from the G7 summit, said that businesses and taxpayers who were affected would be aided with a suspension of tax and mortgage payments.

The region estimates that damage worth more than 620 million euros has been caused to infrastructure, including roads and railways. 

According to the agricultural lobby Confagricoltura, at least 10 million fruit trees will have to be uprooted, and possibly as many as 40 million.

"There are people who have lost everything. I am thinking of agriculture even more than tourism but both are examples of sectors that employ many seasonal workers." said the head of the Emilia Romagna region, Stefano Bonaccini while speaking to reporters in a joint appearance with Meloni.

Italy has frequently suffered extreme weather events over the past year, which have been linked to climate change. A dozen people lost their lives following flash floods in the Marche region in September, while a landslide on the island of Ischia in November killed 12.