Italy's largest river, the Po, has burst its banks following a week of heavy flooding which claimed at least sixteen lives.
Italy's largest river, the Po, has burst its banks following a week of heavy flooding which claimed at least sixteen lives. The new disaster brought fresh gloom to the already badly-hit northern regions of Italy - for the River Po is in the heart of some of the country's most valuable farmland.
SYNOPSIS: Wide-spread flooding followed torrential rains. Damage has been estimated at some GBP90 million sterling, with farms, villages, roads, factories and railway lines washed away. Much of the damage has been caused by the hilly terrain - with hundreds of land-slips depositing millions of tonnes of mud into the little valleys below. The weight of mud was enough to crush houses, farm buildings, and even entire hamlets.
The remoteness of some stricken areas, coupled with severe damage in cities like the major port of Genoa, which tied up rescue services, delayed the arrival of relief help. Although the army moved bulldozers and heavy equipment into some more accessible regions, people in isolated villages were still awaiting help almost a week after flooding and land-slips first began. Meanwhile, the new disaster of the River Po threatens even greater damage. The river reached its highest level for 25 years before bursting through its banks. Apart from the official death toll, several people were listed missing or unaccounted for.