Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Search for victims as Sardinia floods leave 18 dead
by Staff Writers
Olbia, Italy (AFP) Nov 19, 2013

Saudi floods kill four
Riyadh (AFP) Nov 19, 2013 - Flash floods sparked by torrential rain in largely desert Saudi Arabia have killed four people and left 10 missing over the past two days, the civil defence authority said Tuesday.

Two of the dead and seven of the missing were in the capital Riyadh, with the rest coming in the northeastern city of Arar, the authority said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

Since Monday, emergency teams have rescued 1,357 people trapped by the floodwaters, it added.

It urged the more than five million residents of the capital to to stay away from rivers and flooded tunnels. Schools and universities have been closed since Sunday.

Saudi Arabia normally experiences such low rainfall that religious leaders often organise special prayers for rain.

But in May last year, around 20 people were killed in flooding sparked by the kingdom's heaviest rainfall in 25 years.

Floods in the western city of Jeddah on the Red Sea coast killed 10 people in 2011 and 123 people in 2009.

Poor drainage and uncontrolled construction were blamed for the high death tolls in Jeddah.

Italian emergency workers searched house by house on the island of Sardinia on Tuesday after a Mediterranean cyclone triggered flash floods, leaving 18 people dead and forcing thousands to seek emergency shelter.

Rivers broke their banks at the height of the storm on Monday, sweeping away bridges, bringing down power lines and flooding hundreds of homes -- some of them in low-lying rural areas that have yet to be reached.

"We are looking inside homes, inside basements, particularly in outlying areas," Gianfranco Galaffu, local director of the civil protection agency for the worst affected northern part of the island, told AFP.

"There is a lot to do. The activity is frenetic. For now we are taking care of the most acute emergencies," he said, adding that personnel and equipment were being sent in from other parts of Sardinia and mainland Italy.

Thousands were displaced by the flooding, said Environment Minister Andrea Orlando.

"Around 2,700 people had to leave their homes and are staying in community shelters or with their families," said Orlando, speaking in front of Italy's parliament.

The minister announced that an earlier death toll of 17 had risen to 18.

A government meeting on Tuesday declared a state of emergency for the island and allocated 20 million euros ($27 million) for emergency assistance, while the regional government provided five million euros.

A few people -- estimated at between two and four by different officials -- were still reported missing.

Rescuers said that more victims could be found in flooded homes or cars and that around 20,000 people had been affected.

Soldiers and navy personnel were deployed in the region, as local rescue services said their efforts were being hampered by the damage to roads. Rescue dogs were also being used, officials said.

"We are focusing on essential operations: saving human lives, assisting displaced people and clearing road access," Prime Minister Enrico Letta told a press conference after an emergency cabinet meeting.

'An absolutely extraordinary event'

"This was an absolutely extraordinary event," Letta said, with one expert telling AFP that a storm of such intensity and with such high rainfall had not been seen on the picturesque holiday island "for centuries".

The port city of Olbia, a popular destination in the summer months, was swept by floodwaters which receded on Tuesday, and hotels, sports halls and private homes were being used to shelter displaced people.

Many local residents voiced anger saying they had not been warned sufficiently about the impending storm but the civil protection agency rejected the criticism, saying the area had been placed on red alert.

The victims included four children and an entire Brazilian family of four living in a basement.

Three people from another family were also killed when a road bridge collapsed onto their van near Olbia, while a mother and daughter were found dead in a car that was swept away in the city by surging waters.

A 64-year-old woman died in her flooded home in Uras in the southwestern part of the island, while her husband was hospitalised suffering from hypothermia.

The heavy rain and high winds meanwhile shifted to the regions of Calabria and Campania in southern Italy and officials said they were monitoring the level of the River Tiber in Rome.

The holiday village of Sellia Marina in Calabria had to be evacuated, ferry services from Naples to the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida were disrupted and St Mark's Square in Venice was under water.

Silvio Saffioti, head of the fire brigade for Sardinia, said that "many pump trucks" to remove floodwaters were themselves stuck in flooded areas.

Civil protection agency chief Franco Gabrielli said the island was "unprepared" for the flooding, caused by 440mm (17.3 inches) of rain in the past 24 hours alone -- almost half the amount that usually falls on average in Italy over an entire year.

"I have found a lot of willingness, a bit less organisation," Gabrielli said after flying into Olbia, where he was overseeing rescue operations.

Experts blamed unregulated construction and poor maintenance of waterways for the flooding and said the problem was all over Italy, not just Sardinia.

"The area was not well managed," said Claudio Rafanelli, an expert on geological risks.

"You cannot build in flood plains and you have to keep the rivers clear. We are really behind on this."


Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
When the Earth Quakes
A world of storm and tempest

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Lourdes closed, 200 evacuated after flash floods
Toulouse, France (AFP) June 18, 2013
French authorities Tuesday shut the grotto at Lourdes and evacuated about 200 people following flash floods at the Roman Catholic pilgrimage site. The preventive measure came a day after heavy rain and unseasonal snowfall in the area led to rivers flowing well above their normal levels, even cutting off some roads. "The Sanctuaries are closed," the local prefecture of the Haute-Garonne a ... read more

Grisly race to identify the Philippines' typhoon dead

China sends rescuers to Philippines after criticism over aid

'Help Us': Isolated typhoon victims clamour for food

Japan sending almost 1,200 troops to typhoon-hit Philippines

UNH scientists document, quantify deep-space radiation hazards

Bayanat Airports And Lockheed To Deploy Windtracer Lidar In Middle East

Czech gold deposits make foreign prospectors drool

Protection Of Materials And Structures From Space Environment at ICPMSE 11

Fishermen adrift after typhoon takes livelihood

Respiratory disorder in the ocean

Aqua-Spark fund dives into fish farming future

Ocean acidification: Hard to digest

Underwater 'tree rings'

Could volcanoes be causing Antarctic ice loss?

Brazil hails Russian bail for held Greenpeace militant

Protests as Greenpeace activists mark two months in detention

UEA research reveals how farmers could mitigate nitrous oxide emissions

China's farmers await revolution in land reform

Researchers warn against high emissions from oil palm expansion in Brazil

Typhoon wiped out third of Philippines' rice crop: UN

Search for victims as Sardinia floods leave 18 dead

Philippines counts the cost of Typhoon Haiyan

Powerful quake strikes far south Atlantic: USGS

Six dead in Vietnam floods: officials

Chinese candidate a Shanghai surprise in Mali polls

Nigerian troops claim nine Boko Haram members killed

Algeria only NAfrica state to block rights visits: HRW

Five killed in Sudan friendly-fire shooting: army

Ancient, modern DNA tell story of first humans in the Americas

DNA of early hominid found to include 'mystery' early genes

China one-child law change small but crucial: experts

Dogs likely originated in Europe more than 18,000 years ago

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement