A storm has killed at least 16 people on the Italian island of Sardinia, with one person missing and many villages still isolated, local officials say.
Confirming the deaths to CNN affiliate Sky TG24, Regional President Ugo Cappellacci described the situation as “dramatic” and “critical.”
Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta held a Cabinet meeting to declare a state of emergency in Sardinia. He told reporters the government has allocated 20 million euros ($27 million) in immediate aid to the Mediterranean island.
The money will be used to help to save lives, assist the displaced and repair roads, he said.
Italian President Giorgio Napolitano issued a statement expressing solidarity with the affected communities.
Italy’s Civil Protection Agency told CNN that the heavy rain that hit Sardinia overnight had stopped but that more storms were expected Tuesday afternoon local time.
The island had received six months’ worth of rainfall — 450 mm (more than a foot) — in 12 hours, spokeswoman Francesca Maffini said.
Italy’s state news agency ANSA reported that flooding from the storm, named Cleopatra, forced many people to flee their homes, with thousands seeking shelter in public facilities such as gymnasiums.
ANSA said a Brazilian family of four was among the dead: a mother, father and two teenage children drowning when a flash flood hit their ground-floor flat in Arzachena, near Olbia.
The Civil Protection Agency said 2,500 people have been displaced and more than 10,000 people are without electricity. The agency is still trying to reach all the areas affected, it said in a statement.
Widespread flooding and landslides have blocked roads, and the agency urged motorists to drive only when necessary and to check road conditions before beginning a journey.
The agency said the bad weather started in the Campidano area, in southwestern Sardinia, then spread across the rest of the island, with the worst affected provinces Olbia and Nuoro.
Olbia’s port remains operational, and the airport is partially open, it said.