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Italy’s Environment Minister, Corrado Clini called for more funding to shore up weather defences as the country was hit by a massive downpour.

The heavy rains, which started in the north have now moved to Umbria in the centre of the country.

In the scenic region known as ‘the green heart of Italy’ people were forced to flee as they were hit by flooding and mudslides.

In neighbouring Tuscany around 200 people were evacuated from their homes after 23 centimetres of rain fell in just four hours. Bridges, vineyards and olive groves were all swept away.

A day earlier Venice had been the first victim of the flooding, and much of the historic city and its buildings remained under water on Monday.

This is the fourth time since 2000 that Venice has been hit by record high water. A barrier to protect the city from the repeated winter flooding is due to be finished in 2015.

Forecasters expect the torrential rain to continue throughout Tuesday.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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