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‘Catastrophic’ Floods in Italy Leave 8 Dead and Thousands Homeless

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Widespread flooding in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna killed at least eight people and forced another 5,000 to abandon their homes, officials said on Wednesday as rescue efforts continued to assist those stuck on the upper stories of buildings.

Some of the worst-hit areas received almost 20 inches of rain in 36 hours, about half the average annual amount, according to the Italian civil protection minister, Nello Musumeci.

Taking into account those figures, “you can understand how powerful this rainfall was,” he said.

Stefano Bonaccini, regional president of Emilia-Romagna, said that the rainfall had been a “catastrophic event that has never been registered before.” His deputy, Irene Priolo, said on Wednesday that the death toll had risen to eight people.

Scenes of dramatic rescues from flood-struck towns have dominated national news broadcasts over the past two days: helicopters airlifting residents from the roofs of homes submerged in water; rescue workers wading through chest-high waters carrying older people on their backs; volunteers in rubber dinghies…

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