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Italy declares emergency in flooded northwest

Italy declares emergency in flooded northwest
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Italy has declared a state of emergency in parts of the northwest battered by torrential rains earlier this week.

At least seven people are known to have died. On Friday, the body of another victim was discovered in Liguria. The Romanian man had been missing for two days.

The floodwater has subsided but not the damage. The coastal town of Monterosso al Mare which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List, is so badly affected that it no longer exists, according to the mayor.

One elderly resident said the flood damage reminded her of World War II.

“I remember back in 1942 in La Spezia, it wasn’t like this. It was better even with the bombing, it’s worse now,” she said.

A local man appeared resigned. “It’s over… Monterosso is finished,” he said.

The storms lashed coastal areas in Liguria and Tuscany late on Tuesday. Torrents and mudslides blocked roads and railways, and brought down bridges and houses.

Local prosecutors are investigating complaints that some deaths were caused by official negligence.

Rescue teams have struggled to reach some areas and the army has been brought in.

The government has allocated 65 million euros to the stricken area.