Heavy rains and floods lash Italy, leaving five dead in Tuscany

The bodies of a four-year-old boy, his parents and grandfather were found in the flooded basement of their two-family home

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 September, 2017, 8:39pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 September, 2017, 11:06pm

Torrential rain in Italy triggered flooding that killed at least five people in the Tuscan port town of Leghorn on Sunday, including four family members who were trapped by rising water in their basement.

The Italian news agency ANSA said the bodies of a four-year-old boy, his parents and grandfather were found in the flooded basement of their two-family home.

Some Italian media reports have put the death toll at six in Leghorn, also known in Italy as Livorno. But the Tuscany Region civil protection chief, Cristiano Lucchi, said the sixth death was caused by a car accident that was unrelated to the flooding.

Lucchi said two people were still missing.

Leghorn Mayor Filippo Nogarin said “a crazy amount of rain” had pummelled Leghorn in the space of only a few hours and “the city is literally devastated”.

Strong winds toppled trees and many parked cars were nearly submerged by floodwaters that also left streets clogged with mud.

Nogarin appealed for volunteers to help the town, which has a population of about 170,000 and is a popular transit point for travellers catching ferries to the islands of Elba and Sardinia.

Train services were interrupted in parts of the Tuscan coastal area along the Tyrrhenian Sea.

In Rome, which until recently had suffered through 3½ months of drought, the downpour quickly turned streets into fast-moving streams and several subway stations were closed.

City Hall urged residents and visitors to go outside only if it was urgent and to avoid parks after morning thunderstorms had lashed Rome. It warned of the possibility of hailstorms and strong winds throughout the rest of Sunday and into Monday.