Viaduct collapses in Italy amid widespread floods
Updated 03:00, 26-Nov-2019

Torrential rain across northern Italy and southern France killed three people at the weekend, sweeping away part of a motorway viaduct in northern Italy and causing fresh flooding in Venice on Sunday.

The heavy rainfalls, which left at least three people dead and two missing across the two countries, were the latest in a two-week wave of extreme weather in the region.

Part of a viaduct serving Italy's A6 motorway near Savona in the northern region of Liguria, running between Turin and France, was washed away by what appeared to be a mudslide, leaving a 30-meter (100-foot) gap in the road.

The emergency services did not immediately find any victims at the site, but sniffer dogs and helicopters were checking the area.

Pictures of the damage revived memories of the collapse of the Morandi bridge in Genoa last August, which claimed 43 lives.

In the Piedmont region, a 52-year-old woman, who was missing after her car was swept away when a river burst its banks, was found dead on Sunday. Two other people in the car were reported to have escaped the vehicle.

The worst-hit region in Italy was Alessandria, south of Turin, where 200 people were evacuated, 600 left stranded and one woman was reported missing.

St Mark's Square in Venice was flooded. (Credit: VCG)

St Mark's Square in Venice was flooded. (Credit: VCG)

Venice under water again

On the east coast, Venice was again hit by the floods that have paralyzed the city in recent days, though the levels were well off the historic peak reached on November 12.

The floodwaters in St Mark's Square in the city center were at knee-height, and were beginning to recede by the afternoon.

The past week has seen the worst flooding in the city for 150 years and damaged dozens of churches at the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Venice's mayor, Luigi Brugnaro, said flooding earlier in the month caused about 1 million euros ($1.1 million) worth of damage and blamed the near-record water level on climate change.

An aerial view of flooded areas following heavy rains in Le Luc, southeastern France. (Credit: VCG)

An aerial view of flooded areas following heavy rains in Le Luc, southeastern France. (Credit: VCG)

Two dead in France

In France, two people died and at least one was missing as high floodwaters submerged cars and turned roads into rivers.

One body was found in the village of Le Muy, just north of France's Mediterranean coast, according to local officials in the southern Var region.

The second body, of a man in his 50s, was found in a car in the village of Cabasse, the local authorities said, without giving further details.

Another man, in his 70s, was still missing in the village of Saint-Antonin-du-Var after going out during the night amid heavy rain.

The southeastern regions of Alpes-Maritimes and Var have since Friday been hit by torrential rainstorms that also caused huge waves in seaside areas.

The town of Roquebrune-sur-Argens in the Var region was particularly badly affected and only accessible by boat or helicopter, the local authorities said.

Some 4,500 households have been left without electricity throughout the two regions.

The senior official for the Var region, Jean-Luc Videlaine, said the rains had been of "historic" intensity, adding that the damage would be "considerable."

Although water levels were now going down, he added that the situation was "far from returning to normal."

(With input from Reuters)