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Italian rescue services in the Ancona region rescuing victims of the flood with inflatable rescue dinghies.
16 Sep 2022

Torrential rain killed at least 10 and injured 50 in the Marche region of Italy

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Ten people have died and several are missing after a heavy rain storm in the city of Ancona in central Italy. Several people have drowned when their cars filled with water on the streets. Over 50 people are also said to have been injured.

In the Italian media, the rain storm is currently being referred to as  a "water bomb".  Streets in coastal villages and smaller towns near the capital of Ancona have been completely flooded. By Friday afternoon, the death toll had risen to ten and 50 people have been treated in hospital for injuries.

Four people were were still missing by Friday afternoon, and two of the missing are children. One of the children was carried away by the water as the parent tried to escape a flooded car.

"It was not an explosion of water, it was a tsunami", stated the mayor of the city of Barbara, Riccardo Pasqualini, to Italian public service Radio RAI.

"It was like an earthquake." said another local mayor,  Ludovico Caverni, to RAI state radio.

According to the BBC, rescuers were still  still searching for four others, including a child who was separated when a river burst its banks.

"More than 180 firefighters are assisting in the rescue efforts, evacuating people who overnight were forced to climb up trees or get onto their roofs to escape the rising water, states the BBC World article on Friday September 16. 

According to Italian newspaper La Stampa, some parts of the region received 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain in only a few hours has fallen, which is equivalent to a third of the normal amount of rain in an entire  year. 

In the city of Senigallia, the river Misa has flooded and photos from the scene show local rescue services attempting to rescue people with inflatable rescue dinghies.

In several areas, schools are closed and electricity and telephone connections are interrupted. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi ha stated he will travel to the affected areas.

According to Italian media, the Council of Ministers has approved a local state of emergency in the Marche region.

According to the BBC, weather officials have explained the severity of the floods by a combination of the unusually hot September temperatures, and a persistent drought over the summer:

"The heat meant the sea was warmer than usual for this time of year,  putting more moisture into the air. When a storm then released the moisture in the form of rain, a severe summer drought meant the land was too dry to absorb the falling water quickly enough".

Areal footage of affected coastal areas in the Marche region in central Italy. Photo courtesy of Italian fire services.