Italian storms claim 17th life, and 14 million trees

Italian storms claim 17th life, and 14 million trees

MILAN (Reuters) – Heavy rain and gale devastating parts of Italy have claimed two more lives, taking the overall death at 17 o'clock, and laid waste to vast swathes of forest.

Falling trees are in the mountains near Belluno, Italy, November 3, 2018. Vigili del Fuoco / Handout via REUTERS

A German tourist died on Friday when hit by lightning on the island of Sardinia while another person was struck by lightning days ago in hospital, Italy's Civil Protection Agency said on Saturday.

A spokeswoman said 17 deaths related to the severe weather had been reported to the Agency so far.

Many of the victims have been killed by falling trees. Coldiretti, of the Association of Italian Agricultural Companies, said in a statement that it had destroyed 14 million trees, many in the far north.

Trentino and Veneto Areas from the Northeast to the Northwest have come to the worst. The area around Venice – where villages and roads have been cut off by landslides.

In the Alps near Belluno, 100 km (60 miles) north of Venice, pine trees and red spruces were snapped wholesale like matchsticks.

The surface of the Comelico superiore dam, farther north near the austrian border, which is covered with the trunks of trees that fall into the Piave river.

"We'll need at least a century to return to normality," Coldiretti said.

Many of the squares and walkways of Venice have been submerged in the highest floods.

The governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, said the region's storm damage at least a billion euros ($ 1.1 billion).

Angelo Borrelli, head of the Civil Protection Agency, said that he had seen winds up to 180 kph (112 mph), and that the situation there was "apocalyptic".

Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini is due to visit the region on Sunday.

($ 1 = 0.8783 euros)

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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