MILAN – Nine members of two families were killed in the same house in Sicily. The torrential rains and high winds have been lashing.

In just moments, rushing water filled the villa where the families were staying, drowning those inside.

A father and his daughter escaped harm because they left the house to do some shopping. A third person climbs a tree to survive.

The deaths at the villa, at Casteldaccia in Palermo Province, killed the number of people killed in Sicily this weekend to 12. Three other people died in their cars by torrents of water.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy spoke of "an immense tragedy" during a visit to affected areas in Sicily. He said a cabinet meeting would be convened this week to declare a state of emergency and to come up with the first package of aid for areas affected.

Heavy rains and gale force winds have battered Italy for several days, upgrading millions of trees and cutting off villages and roads. Italy's Civil Protection Agency said it caused the wave of bad weather at 17, excluding the fatalities in Sicily.

Some of the worst damage has been recorded in the northern regions of Trentino and Veneto. On Saturday the governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, said the cost of the damage in the region is at least one billion euros, or $ 1.14 billion.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said $ 285 million had been earmarked for relief. Mr. Salvini, who is now Prime Minister, said it would cost about $ 40 billion, or about $ 45.5 billion, to safeguard Italy against such events in the future.


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