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Emilia-Romagna floods in 2023

Water, lots of water. But also mud, stones and earth which, from the Apennine mountains, slide into the rivers and increase their flow, which has already quickly reached its limit.
The same amount of rain that normally falls in seven months falls in two weeks, causing twenty-three rivers to overflow their banks across the region: in some areas, nearly half of the average annual rainfall falls in just 36 hours. The first floods are recorded between 2 and 3 May 2023 in and around the cities of Bologna, Cesena, Forlì, Faenza, Ravenna and Rimini, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy, killing two people. Then the most serious floods from 16 to 17 May 2023, which increased the number of victims to 15 and displaced almost 40,000 people.

That night the flood overwhelmed everything: homes, workplaces, churches and public buildings. The force of the water destroys everything it encounters and where the rivers collide, in the lower parts of the cities, it even reaches the second floors of the buildings. In towns and cities where the water retreats quickly, a mess of mud remains that must be shoveled out as soon as possible, that is, before it solidifies and becomes as hard as stone. Thousands of volunteers, mostly young people, reach Romagna from all over Italy and offer to help in the most affected areas: they are nicknamed the "mud angels", taking up the nickname of the volunteers who contributed to tackling the emergency following the flood in Florence on 4 November 1966 and which supported the first reconstruction.

In other areas the flood does not recede, such as in Conselice, which becomes the symbol of the flooding of Romagna and, in its lowest part, the water still reaches a meter deep a week after the last rainfall. Due to its height above sea level of only 6 metres, the urgency is to try to make the water flow away, to prevent it from discharging sewage and waste water, but also agricultural waste, dead animal carcasses and hydrocarbons and heavy metals , leaked from flooded companies, can seriously pollute the area and trigger infections and epidemics.


In the other affected areas, meanwhile, the Fire Brigade, Civil Protection and the Italian Army together with thousands of volunteers are trying to clear the streets of mud, free homes from damaged furniture, bring aid to the population trapped on the upper floors of the houses or displaced and relocated in reception camps set up in schools, convents and public buildings.

The first funerals are celebrated and the community rallies around the families of the victims, as does the Italian Government which, as a symbol of closeness, proclaims national mourning, with flags at half-mast in all public buildings and grants public funerals. Minister Anna Maria Bernini (University and Research) participates in the State Funeral as a representative of the government, together with high officials, institutions and carabinieri in full uniform. 


On 25 May 2023, the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, after a press conference with President Meloni, reached the territories hit hard by the flood and she was welcomed by an enthusiastic crowd who cheered her.

The toll of the tragedy is disastrous: over 4.5 billion cubic meters of water fell on a portion of territory of 16 thousand square kilometres, 44 municipalities flooded and 48 affected by landslides, 250 instabilities, 23 rivers and waterways flooded while another 13 saw the maximum alarm level exceeded. And still thousands of open landslides, 376 of the main ones occurred between hills and mountains, over 30 isolated hamlets, 105 schools attached or unreachable due to landslides and landslides and damages estimated at around 10 billion euros. 
Finally, the most dramatic toll: 15 dead and over 36 thousand displaced people.

CONSELICE, ITALY  MAY 23:
The recent flood seriously affected the city and one week later the last flood it is the only area of the Region still under water in Conselice, Emilia-Romagna on May 23, 2023.
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CONSELICE, ITALY MAY 23:
The recent flood seriously affected the city and one week later the last flood it is the only area of the Region still under water in Conselice, Emilia-Romagna on May 23, 2023.
FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY  MAY 20:
Firefighters rescue people and recover their belongings in houses submerged in water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia-Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
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FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY MAY 20:
Firefighters rescue people and recover their belongings in houses submerged in water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia-Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
CONSELICE, ITALY  MAY 23: 
Firefighters from Bologna evacuate a couple from their flooded home in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
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CONSELICE, ITALY MAY 23:
Firefighters from Bologna evacuate a couple from their flooded home in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
CONSELICE, ITALY  MAY 23: 
Firefighters from Bologna Commander help people and recover their belongings in houses submerged in water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
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CONSELICE, ITALY MAY 23:
Firefighters from Bologna Commander help people and recover their belongings in houses submerged in water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY  MAY 20: 
The water has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points it is more than a meter deep in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
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FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY MAY 20:
The water has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points it is more than a meter deep in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY  MAY 20:
Father and son, previously displaced from their home submerged by water, are about to board a fire brigade dinghy. The flooding and overflowing of the rivers, in fact, invaded entire neighborhoods and in some places still exceeds one meter in depth in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia-Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
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FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY MAY 20:
Father and son, previously displaced from their home submerged by water, are about to board a fire brigade dinghy. The flooding and overflowing of the rivers, in fact, invaded entire neighborhoods and in some places still exceeds one meter in depth in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia-Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
MODIGLIANA, ITALY  MAY 22: residents free their homes from the landslides that the heavy rains of recent days have caused in the Apennines, isolating hamlets in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023.
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MODIGLIANA, ITALY MAY 22: residents free their homes from the landslides that the heavy rains of recent days have caused in the Apennines, isolating hamlets in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023.
MODIGLIANA, ITALY - MAY 22: a lady is moved by the landslide that swept over her home in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023. The heavy rains of recent days have isolated villages and hamlets.
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MODIGLIANA, ITALY - MAY 22: a lady is moved by the landslide that swept over her home in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023. The heavy rains of recent days have isolated villages and hamlets.
FORLì, ITALY  MAY 21:
Volunteers help residents clear streets and homes by shoveling mud in neighborhoods that have been submerged by water and mud in Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, on May 21, 2023.
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FORLì, ITALY MAY 21:
Volunteers help residents clear streets and homes by shoveling mud in neighborhoods that have been submerged by water and mud in Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, on May 21, 2023.
FAENZA, ITALY  MAY 22: 
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
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FAENZA, ITALY MAY 22:
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
FAENZA, ITALY - MAY 25:
Some inhabitants approached the Emergency van, an Italian humanitarian association present with its volunteers in the field, which is distributing aid to the population affected by the flood in Faenza, Emilia-Romagna, on 25 May 2023.
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FAENZA, ITALY - MAY 25:
Some inhabitants approached the Emergency van, an Italian humanitarian association present with its volunteers in the field, which is distributing aid to the population affected by the flood in Faenza, Emilia-Romagna, on 25 May 2023.
FAENZA, ITALY  MAY 22: 
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
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FAENZA, ITALY MAY 22:
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
SANT'AGATA SUL SANTERNO, ITALY - MAY 2023: 
Under the guidance of the Archival and Bibliographic Superintendency of Emilia Romagna, some volunteers recover the civil archive registers damaged by the mud in Sant'Agata Sul Santerno, Emilia Romagna, on May 24 2023.
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SANT'AGATA SUL SANTERNO, ITALY - MAY 2023:
Under the guidance of the Archival and Bibliographic Superintendency of Emilia Romagna, some volunteers recover the civil archive registers damaged by the mud in Sant'Agata Sul Santerno, Emilia Romagna, on May 24 2023.
FORLì, ITALY  MAY 26: 
Protezione Civile Volunteers help residents clear streets and homes by shoveling mud in neighborhoods that have been submerged by water and mud in Forlì, Emilia Romagna on May 26, 2023.
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FORLì, ITALY MAY 26:
Protezione Civile Volunteers help residents clear streets and homes by shoveling mud in neighborhoods that have been submerged by water and mud in Forlì, Emilia Romagna on May 26, 2023.
CONSELICE, ITALY  MAY 23: 
Volunteers accompany two divers from the Italian Coast Guard and two volunteers from the Italian Red Cross to deliver cooked meals and drinking water to families isolated by flooding in Conselice, Emilia Romagna on May 23, 2023 .
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CONSELICE, ITALY MAY 23:
Volunteers accompany two divers from the Italian Coast Guard and two volunteers from the Italian Red Cross to deliver cooked meals and drinking water to families isolated by flooding in Conselice, Emilia Romagna on May 23, 2023 .
FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY  MAY 20: 
Some volunteers help the inhabitants to save their belongings abandoned in the houses submerged by water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
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FORNACE ZARATTINI, ITALY MAY 20:
Some volunteers help the inhabitants to save their belongings abandoned in the houses submerged by water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Fornace Zarattini, Emilia Romagna, on May 20, 2023.
MODIGLIANA, ITALY - MAY 22: 
An helicopter is used to transfer goods and materials in a hamlet that has remained completely isolated due to landslides caused by the heavy rains of recent days in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023.
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MODIGLIANA, ITALY - MAY 22:
An helicopter is used to transfer goods and materials in a hamlet that has remained completely isolated due to landslides caused by the heavy rains of recent days in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023.
MODIGLIANA, ITALY - MAY 22: 
a moment of emotion of a displaced woman due to the landslides caused by the heavy rains of recent days in the former convent of the nuns where she was welcomed in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023.
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MODIGLIANA, ITALY - MAY 22:
a moment of emotion of a displaced woman due to the landslides caused by the heavy rains of recent days in the former convent of the nuns where she was welcomed in Modigliana, in Emilia Romagna, on May 22, 2023.
FAENZA, ITALY  MAY 22: 
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
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FAENZA, ITALY MAY 22:
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
FAENZA, ITALY  MAY 22: 
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
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FAENZA, ITALY MAY 22:
The city was hit by 2 floods, respectively the first from May 1 to 4 and the second from May 17 to May 19, which overwhelmed the city in Faenza, Emilia Romagna on May 22 2023. Volunteers and residents have been clearing the streets and cleaning homes for days.
CONSELICE, ITALY  MAY 23: 
A Red Cross volunteer falls ill after being immersed for hours in water contaminated by pollutants in the flood-affected area that is still submerged in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
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CONSELICE, ITALY MAY 23:
A Red Cross volunteer falls ill after being immersed for hours in water contaminated by pollutants in the flood-affected area that is still submerged in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
CONSELICE, ITALY  MAY 23: 
Firefighters from Bologna Commander help people and recover their belongings in houses submerged in water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
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CONSELICE, ITALY MAY 23:
Firefighters from Bologna Commander help people and recover their belongings in houses submerged in water. The flood and the overflow of rivers, in fact, has invaded entire neighborhoods and in some points exceeds one meter of depth in Conselice, Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
CONSELICE, ITALY - MAY 23: 
Population seriously affected by the flood and who had to leave their homes was hosted in the center for displaced persons set up in the middle school in Conselice, in Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
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CONSELICE, ITALY - MAY 23:
Population seriously affected by the flood and who had to leave their homes was hosted in the center for displaced persons set up in the middle school in Conselice, in Emilia Romagna, on May 23, 2023.
RUSSI, ITALY  MAY 24: 
Minister Anna Maria Bernini attended on behalf of the Italian Government the church of San Pancrazio where the first two funerals of flood victims were celebrated in Russi, Emilia Romagna on May 24, 2023. Between the authorities were also present the Mayor of Russi Valentina Palli and the Prefect of Ravenna Castrese De Rosa.
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RUSSI, ITALY MAY 24:
Minister Anna Maria Bernini attended on behalf of the Italian Government the church of San Pancrazio where the first two funerals of flood victims were celebrated in Russi, Emilia Romagna on May 24, 2023. Between the authorities were also present the Mayor of Russi Valentina Palli and the Prefect of Ravenna Castrese De Rosa.
RUSSI, ITALY  MAY 24:
The first public funerals of flood victims was celebrated in San Pancrazio church with the presence of Minister Anna Maria Bernini in Russi, Emilia-Romagna, on May 24. Elio Foschini and his wife Dorotea Dalle Fabbriche, the two first victims, were in their home when it was overwhelmed by the flood and they drowned.
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RUSSI, ITALY MAY 24:
The first public funerals of flood victims was celebrated in San Pancrazio church with the presence of Minister Anna Maria Bernini in Russi, Emilia-Romagna, on May 24. Elio Foschini and his wife Dorotea Dalle Fabbriche, the two first victims, were in their home when it was overwhelmed by the flood and they drowned.
MOLINELLA, ITALY - MAY 25: 
The Motta bridge that connects San Martino and Budrio collapsed due to the bad weather that scourged Emilia Romagna in Molinella, on May 25, 2023.
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MOLINELLA, ITALY - MAY 25:
The Motta bridge that connects San Martino and Budrio collapsed due to the bad weather that scourged Emilia Romagna in Molinella, on May 25, 2023.
Emilia-Romagna floods in 2023
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CESENA, ITALY - MAY 25:
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen traveled to Italy and, after flying over the flooded areas, landed in Cesena where she met with the authorities and the population in Cesena, Emilia-Romagna, on May 25, 2023.
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CESENA, ITALY - MAY 25:
European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen traveled to Italy and, after flying over the flooded areas, landed in Cesena where she met with the authorities and the population in Cesena, Emilia-Romagna, on May 25, 2023.
FORLì, ITALY  MAY 21: 
Residents clear their homes by shoveling mud and water in Forlì, Emilia Romagna on May 21, 2023.
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FORLì, ITALY MAY 21:
Residents clear their homes by shoveling mud and water in Forlì, Emilia Romagna on May 21, 2023.
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