OLBIA, Italy: 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,” said Gianfranco Galaffu, local director of the civil protection agency for the worst affected northern part of the island.
“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.