Italy storms claim 12 more lives, raising death toll to 30
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Italy storms claim 12 more lives, raising death toll to 30

Flooding in Sicily kill 9 members of a family as landslides and flash flooding continue to wreak havoc across the region

  • Destroyed yachts and boats lie in the harbour of Rapallo, near Genoa, on October 30, 2018, after a storm hit the region and destroyed a part of the dam the night before. (MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)
    Destroyed yachts and boats lie in the harbour of Rapallo, near Genoa, on October 30, 2018, after a storm hit the region and destroyed a part of the dam the night before. (MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)
  • A motorhome is pictured off side of a flooded road on November 4, 2018 near a house where nine people of the same family died after a small river burst its banks in Casteldaccia near Palermo on the southern Italian island of Sicily. (Alessandro FUCARINI / AFP)
    A motorhome is pictured off side of a flooded road on November 4, 2018 near a house where nine people of the same family died after a small river burst its banks in Casteldaccia near Palermo on the southern Italian island of Sicily. (Alessandro FUCARINI / AFP)
  • A man walks in the flooded St. Mark's Square during a high-water (Acqua Alta) alert in Venice on October 29, 2018. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)
    A man walks in the flooded St. Mark's Square during a high-water (Acqua Alta) alert in Venice on October 29, 2018. (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)
  • Tourists under arches next to the flooded St Mark's Square during a high-water alert in Venice on October 29, 2018 (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)
    Tourists under arches next to the flooded St Mark's Square during a high-water alert in Venice on October 29, 2018 (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

ROME, Italy (AFP) — Floods have killed 12 people on the southern Italian island of Sicily, nine of them from the same family, rescue services said Sunday, raising the week’s toll across Italy past 30.

Six Italian regions remain on high alert for storms.

The bodies of nine people were found in their house in Casteldaccia in the Palermo region, next to a small river which had burst its banks, rescue services said. Among the victims was a one-year-old baby and children aged three and 15.

Three other members of the same family managed to escape, one of them by climbing a tree, the Agi news agency reported.

“It is an immense tragedy,” the local mayor said Sunday.

In a separate incident, a 44-year-old man was found dead in his car near Vicari, also in the Palermo region. A passenger in the car is missing.

People pass on November 4, 2018 by damages on a flooded road near a house where nine people of the same family died after a small river burst its banks in Casteldaccia near Palermo on the southern Italian island of Sicily. (Alessandro FUCARINI / AFP)

Rescue workers are also searching for a doctor forced by the storms to abandon his car near the town of Corleone after trying to drive to work at the hospital there.

Two other people, a man and a woman, died after their car was caught in the floods in the region of Agrigente, a little further south on the island.

Troops were deployed to check the conditions of the main roads on the Mediterranean island Sunday.

Earlier this week, floods in Sicily had closed many roads and mayors ordered schools, public parks and underpasses shut.

A week of deadly storms

Italy has been hit by a series of deadly storms over the past week, especially in the north and around Venice. They have claimed more than 30 lives in all, including the Sicily deaths, and caused massive damage and disruption.

Chairs float on the flooded St. Mark Square during a high-water (Acqua Alta) alert in Venice on October 29, 2018 (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Forests in the northeast of the country were flattened like matchsticks.

Italy’s Interior Minister Matteo Salvini described the devastated territory and posted photos in a tweet Sunday after flying over the Alpine town of Belluno.

The picturesque fishing village of Portofino near Genoa, a famed holiday resort on the Italian riviera, was only reachable by sea after the main road collapsed. An emergency path opened to let residents out was deemed too dangerous.

Trees covering the mountains in the Dolomites range were reduced to matchsticks, flattened by winds that tore through the Veneto region on Thursday.

“It’s like after an earthquake,” said the governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia. “Thousands of hectares of forest were razed to the ground, as if by a giant electric saw.”

Tourists walk in the flooded streets near Rialto Bridge during a high-water (Acqua Alta) alert in Venice on October 29, 2018 (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

The canal city of Venice, on Italy’s northeast coast, has also experienced some of its worst flooding ever, as well as having to withstand winds of up to 180 kilometers an hour (110 miles an hour).

Italy’s civil protection agency has described the weather lashing the country this week as “one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years.”

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