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Rome Floods

  • December 15th, 2008
  • Posted by Daniel Challis

The mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno declared a state of emergency last Thursday following major flooding and savage storms in the city and surrounding areas.

rivertiber.jpg Two people have died so far as a result of the floods, with a 27-year-old Irish tourist being presumed dead after the man reportedly fell off a bridge and was swept away downstream in the early hours of Saturday morning…


Police divers are searching the Tiber for any sign of the missing Irish tourist who police say, was watching the water levels rise from Mazzini Bridge in the city centre when he fell in.

The Roman mayor called the incident a ‘tragedy’; he’d been warning Romans to stay indoors.

Other deaths include that of a woman who became trapped after a wave of water and mud inundated her car in an underpass on Thursday morning.

The body of another victim was found in the southern region of Calabria after the man was standing on a bridge when it collapsed.


Rome’s famous Tiber River is at its highest level in over 40 years and has been threatening to break its banks and flood the city centre.

The Tiber has rose five metres in only two days and, almost engulfing the famous Milvio Bridge.

With heavy rain falling since Thursday, emergency crews were worried it might overflow and spread to the Vatican.

The high stone embankments have so far held, but the rising levels have still managed to cause damage to roads and buildings as well as disrupt transport.

Many have been stranded in their cars and homes due to the floods, some having to be rescued by emergency services driving around in boats.

Sandbags have also been placed in areas where floods have moved in on homes and buildings.

The Italian army has been brought in to assist with the relief effort and help people prepare defend their homes, against the chance of more heavy rain in the coming days.


Italy has been at the mercy of extreme weather for weeks now, with reports of heavy snow and hail in the North and a new heavy downpour in the South.

Tuscany is one such place to suffer at the hands of nature’s fury after parts of the region flooded; enough so for officials to ask for a national State of Emergency to be declared.

The bad weather has been stifling traffic flow on roads across Italian cities and causing major delays at airports and train stations.

A high tide at Venice brought flooding last Thursday to lower parts of the city including the landmark St. Marks Square.

It was however nothing like the tidal surge a few weeks ago which pushed sea levels to around 1.6 metres (see EUAustralia, ‘Tidal Surges: The Menace of Venice’, 05.12.08).

Picture: Tiber River, Rome