12 storm deaths in Sicily

Orange alert Monday in Veneto, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lazio

(ANSA) - Palermo, November 12 - Thunderstorms caused 12 more storm deaths in Sicily at the weekend bringing to 32 the Italy death toll since the extreme weather started battering the country 10 days ago.
    Nine people from two families including two small children died in a deluge of water and mud when a river broke its banks at Casteldaccia in Sicily, local sources said.
    They were living in a building that had been built illegally, the sources said.
    Another three people were killed across the southern Italian island at the weekend.
    There is an orange weather alert Monday in Veneto, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Lazio. Premier Giuseppe Conte announced one billion euros in funding to fix "hydrogeological instability" across the length and breadth of Italy.
    Interior Minister and League leader Matteo Salvini asked for 40 billion.
    Meanwhile the centre-left Democratic Party blamed many of the deaths on amnesties on illegal buildings over the years, some of them voted for by the League.
    Salvini retorted that "salon environmentalism" was to blame, preventing trees from being cut down and water courses altered to stave off risk.
    On Monday Premier Conte said before leaving for Algiers: "I will speak with the Algerian prime minister about Sicily, where I went yesterday after the violent wave of bad weather, which caused many, too many deaths".
    It was also announced that the nine killed at Casteldaccia will be buried in Palermo Cathedral on Tuesday.
    Meanwhile the Regional Administrative Court (TAR) of Palermo said the villa that housed the victims should have been demolished. Economy Undersecretary Massimo Garavaglia said funds to remedy hydrogeological instability would be included in the 2019 budget bill.
    Environment Minister Sergio Costa said "we need a fast norm to demolish illegal and dangerous buildings." "A special group will study the problem," he said.
    "Illegal building has a very old history in Italy," he said.
    Costa also said the government's ministers were working hard to try to allocate EU funds to tackle the emergency.
    Far north in Veneto, over one billion euros of damage has been done and whole forests have been flattened by high winds.
    Veneto Governor Luca Zaia has asked for a state of calamity to be declared, as has Liguria Governor Giovanni Toti on the other side of Italy.
    The European Commission is in close contact with Italy's civil defence department over the deadly storms that have hit Italy killing over 30 people, EC Spokesperson Margaritis Schinas said Monday.
    "Our thoughts go out to our Italian friends after the heavy rains and flooding, we voice our condolences to the victims' families," he said after the latest 12 deaths in Sicily.
    "We hail the tireless work of the rescue teams, our emergency response coordination centre is in close and permanent contact with the Italian civil protection department and is watching over the situation".
    European Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides will meet Civil Protection Director-General Agostino Miozzo on Monday to discuss Italy's storm deaths and damage and "determine the next steps", Schinas said.
    Schinas said the Copernicus satellite system had been activated at Italy's request to map the areas hit by the storms, in Sicily and Veneto. Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli visited the Belluno area in Veneto and said "the damage is devastating".
    Premier Giuseppe Conte said Monday that a State of emergency for Sicily would be declared by the cabinet this week after the devastating and deadly storms that have killed at least 12 people on the island.
    Some 90% of Sicilian municipalities did not reply to the regional government's request to list the illegal homes in their territory a few months ago, it emerged Monday.
    Only 39 municipalities out of 390, or 10%, replied to the query from Governor Nello Musumeci's government.
    Among those that did not answer was Casteldaccia, the town where nine people including two small children were killed by a wave of water and mud inside an illegal villa, near a river that broke its banks because of torrential rain.
    The government is sending commissioners to the municipalities that have not replied.
   

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