At least two dead after storm batters N. Italy

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-23 00:01:39|Editor: yan
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ROME, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least two people died in northern Italy in the early hours of Tuesday after violent storms battered the country's northwest areas, causing floods.

The most affected areas were the regions of Piedmont, Liguria and Lombardy.

A 52-year-old taxi driver lost his life when his car was swept away in the province of Alessandria after a local river burst its banks, the prefecture said on Tuesday morning.

A passenger traveling with him - a British national - was hospitalized with hypothermia.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese was "in contact with the Fire Department, Public Rescue, Civil Protection and the prefecture of Alessandria" to constantly monitor the situation and the rescue efforts, a ministry statement read.

A second confirmed victim was an 81-year-old man, who lost control of his car while driving under torrential rains near Piedmont's regional capital Turin, the medical rescue service said.

Two other elderly people, who had been reported missing in early morning in the same region, were later found alive.

Some 400 volunteers were overall deployed so far across Piedmont, along with emergency staff mobilized by local authorities, the civil protection agency said on Twitter.

Up to early morning on Tuesday, 220 rescue missions were carried out and 130 people evacuated in the province of Alessandria alone, the civil protection added.

At least 90 people were assisted and spent the night in first-aid centers, said the Italian Red Cross.

While an emergency meeting chaired by civil protection chief Angelo Borrelli and Piedmont Governor Alberto Cirio was held at the prefecture of Alessandria, all schools in the city remained shut for one day for precautionary reasons.

"Luckily, the situation is slowly getting better ... civil protection operative teams are at work to remove water and mud from all houses affected," Borrelli explained in a video message.

After the meeting, the Piedmont governor announced he would file a request for a state of emergency to the civil protection agency and the central government, Ansa news agency reported.

Other places affected by the stormy weather included Milan, Pavia, Lodi in Lombardy, and Genoa in Liguria.

The situation was returning to normal in Milan, Lombardy's regional capital, after heavy rains left several areas of the city underwater on Monday, severely disrupting public transport and car traffic.

However, the civil protection confirmed an orange weather alert (second highest) for most part of Lombardy on Tuesday.

Storms also affected the coastal city of Genoa, with winds up to about 120 kilometers per hour.

Minor landslides caused by heavy rains occurred in smaller municipalities across the region, but no severe damages or injuries were reported, regional authorities said on Twitter.