Italian floods leave devastation in their wake

STORY: Floods that killed several people in Italy's northern Emilia-Romagna have caused billions of euros worth of damage, the regional governor said on Thursday (May 19).

Torrential rains this week devastated the east of the region causing more than 20 rivers to overflow.

There have been hundreds of landslides and roads have been damaged and destroyed.

Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia-Romagna region, said:

"The scale of the devastation caused by the bad weather is like another earthquake."

Agriculture has been hit hard, with more than 5,000 farms left under water.

Some 10,000 people have been forced out of their homes, and many of those who remained were left with no electricity.

One of the dead was swept away from her home and washed up on a beach some 12 miles away.

In the town of Cesena, locals were able to access to their mud-wrecked homes as the rain stopped and floodwaters largely receded.

Husband and wife Maurizio Cola and Raffaella Zanni returned to find their wedding photos ruined.

“My whole married life is in there."

“We had to throw everything away, nothing was saved. / The water reached up to here and you can see the level on the wall.”

It was the second time this month that Emilia-Romagna has been battered by bad weather.

Heavy rains followed months of drought which had dried out the land.

Meteorologists said this reduced the capacity to absorb water.

Environmental group, the WWF, have blamed the loss of water-absorbing forests and vegetation along the riverways for amplifying the disaster.

Italy's agriculture minister has said the government would not turn local industry quote "into a desert" by imposing tough CO2-reduction curbs, while big polluting nations elsewhere were not doing the same.

But he acknowledged that the drought was caused by climate change and said the country had to adapt.