Floods in Italy: Helicopter crashes, PM Meloni heading home
A helicopter crashed in the Italian province of Ravenna, which has been hit by severe storms and flooding. All four people on board were taken to hospital, but only one of them was injured, the Italian fire service said on Saturday.
The crew had been inspecting power lines damaged by storms in the municipality of Lugo when the helicopter crashed, the news agencies ANSA and Adnkronos reported.
The province of Ravenna is one of nine provinces in the region of Emilia-Romagna in the northeast of Italy, which is bracing itself for more rain after severe flooding earlier this week.
The situation deteriorated on Friday, particularly around the city of Ravenna — capital of a province with the same name within Emilia-Romagna — where rivers overflowed their banks again, and landslides are currently proving to be a great danger.
Rainfall is expected to continue
In some parts of the region on the Adriatic coast the highest alert level is still in effect, Italy's Civil Protection Department (Proetzione Civile) that deals with the prediction, prevention and management of emergency events said.
Floods and landslides continue to plague the affected areas. In some places, the water is slowly receding. Hundreds of rescue workers and volunteers are now working to clear the roads of mud.
The Italian fire brigade has been called out to more than 3,000 operations involving about 1,000 firefighters since the beginning of the severe storms, it was reported on Saturday morning.
Meloni to leave G7 summit earlier
Meanwhile, Italy's Prime MinisterGiorgia Meloni is set to leave the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima a day earlier than scheduled to lead the response to flooding which hit the north of her country this week, diplomatic sources told several news agencies on the sidelines of the summit on Saturday.
Italy's government plans to hold a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday to decide on relief measures for the affected areas. From Japan, Meloni assured the region of her "fullest solidarity."
Meloni thanked the G7 leaders and everyone from other countries who had expressed solidarity with Italy and those affected by the flooding.
Torrential rains devastated the eastern side of the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna, killing 14 people, causing billions of euros worth of damage and hitting agriculture particularly hard.
dh/msh (dpa, Reuters)