At least eight killed by heavy flooding in Italy, as river levels continue to rise

At least eight people have been killed by heavy flooding and mudslides in the northern Italian region of Emilia Romagna, with more than 13,000 residents being forced to evacuate, according to local authorities.

Three people died in the city of Forli, one died in a mudslide in Cesenate, and a married couple died in the village of Ronta di Cesena, according to the attendees of an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday. Two others died overnight.

Regional president Stefano Bonaccini said 3,000 people were evacuated from Bologna, 5,000 from Faenza and another 5,000 from Ravenna.

“Our thoughts go to the eight victims and some missing. All the condolences of the Region go to them and their families,” he said.

The vice president of Emilia Romagna, Irene Priolo, told reporters that the rains were easing but that river levels were still rising, according to Reuters.

The region, which has been suffering a prolonged drought, is under a red alert – the highest level warning or state of emergency for life-threatening weather events. The Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, scheduled for this weekend, has been canceled and the site evacuated.

Fourteen rivers burst their banks in the region, forcing people in cities such as Cesena to climb onto the roof of their buildings to escape incoming water, Reuters reported. Firefighters rescued them with helicopters or rubber dinghies.

A total of 600 firefighters have been deployed from across Italy to assist with evacuations in the region after Italy’s longest river, the Po, broke its banks, the Italian Department for Civil Protection said in a tweet.

Residents in numerous areas across the region, including in the city of Bologna, were asked not to leave their homes.

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