By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Severe flooding in Sicily on Sunday left 12 people dead. That brought the nationwide death toll after a week of extreme weather to 29.
Among the dead were two German tourists, according to VOA News. At least one other person is missing.
Nine People Drowned Near Palermo
Nine members of two families were among those killed near Palermo, CNN reported. They were dining together in a vacation home that flooded when the swollen Milicia River suddenly overflowed, fire brigade officials said.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expressed his condolences to the families of the victims when he arrived in the affected area on Sunday.
Italy’s civil protection agency said it was still looking for a missing doctor who had been on his way to work at a local hospital Saturday night, CNN added.
Survivor of Palermo Flood Describes His Wait for Rescue
One of the survivors, Giuseppe Giordano, told how he lost his teenage son, Federico, and one-year-old daughter, Rachele, when the floodwaters overran the vacation home. He said Federico was trying to hold his sister above the deluge.
“I saw the windows had darkened. I took the car keys to try to leave and the window exploded, and then the wall unit fell and then I didn’t see anything else…maybe the light went out,” Giordano said.
He found himself swallowing water, but managed to get out to a tree and held on. Gioradano said he yelled for help for more than two hours before being rescued.
Divers later recovered all nine bodies.
Cost of Italy’s Flood Damage Likely to Exceed One Billion Euros
“High winds and heavy rain have devastated parts of the country over the past week, causing landslides that have cut off villages and forced roads to close, CNN reported. Damages are estimated at more than 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion), authorities said.
Venice Suffers Flooding
Last Monday, torrential rains overwhelmed Venice’s historic St. Mark’s Square and Basilica in the worst flooding in Venice in at least a decade.
Floodwaters reached 61 inches above average sea level. As much as three-quarters of Venice was under water.