Week-long storm across Italy kills at least 30 people

Nine members of a family died when the house (above) they were in was submerged in water and mud when a river in Sicily burst its banks. Floods claimed the lives of three other people on the Italian island.
Nine members of a family died when the house (above) they were in was submerged in water and mud when a river in Sicily burst its banks. Floods claimed the lives of three other people on the Italian island.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CASTELDACCIA (Sicily) • Floods have killed 12 people on the Italian island of Sicily, including nine members of a single family, pushing the country's week-long storm toll beyond 30, rescuers said.

After a river burst its banks, the bodies of the family - including children aged one, three and 15 - were discovered in the coastal town of Casteldaccia, east of the Sicilian capital Palermo.

Rescue services said the house where they were spending the weekend was submerged in water and mud. The other victims' ages ranged from 32 to 65.

Three family members managed to escape, one by climbing a tree where he stayed for more than two hours, the Agi news agency reported on Sunday.

"I lost everything, I have nothing left, just my daughter," one of the survivors, 35-year-old Giuseppe Giordano, told journalists.

His wife, two other children, his parents, brother, sister, nephew and the boy's grandmother all died, he said.

After flying over Casteldaccia on Sunday, Sicilian prosecutor Ambrogio Cartosio described scenes of "total disaster".

Officials have opened an investigation to determine whether houses built near the river had complied with safety norms.

In a separate incident in Sicily, a 44-year-old man was found dead in his car near Vicari, also in the Palermo region. He had been trying to reach a service station, where he was the manager, to help a colleague trapped there. A 20-year-old passenger in the car with him is still missing.

Two other people, a man and a woman, died after their rental car was swept away by a torrent in the region of Agrigente, rescuers said.

Violent winds and strong rain had earlier killed at least 20 other people around Italy, especially in the north. Six regions remain on high alert for storms.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2018, with the headline 'Week-long storm across Italy kills at least 30 people'. Print Edition | Subscribe