Man dies as floods hit northern Italy due to heavy rain


ROME, May 17 (Xinhua) -- At least one person has died and dozens were evacuated in northern Italy on Friday, due to extensive flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the last 48 hours.

A 24-hour red alert -- signaling the highest hydrogeological risk level -- has been issued in northeast Veneto, where some cities including Padua and Vicenza have been heavily flooded after local rivers burst their banks.

Some 450 firefighters are still at work in the region, along with civil protection, to support people trapped in their homes. Rescue teams have received some 2,500 emergency calls over the last 48 hours, according to the National Fire and Rescue Service.

In the northern Lombardy region, firefighters on Friday retrieved the body of a 66-year-old man who had died after falling from a small bridge into a local river late on Thursday.

As of Friday, Lombardy's governor Attilio Fontana confirmed to Italy's ANSA News Agency that the situation remains "very complex", with many houses and several business premises still completely flooded.

Italian farmers' union Coldiretti said agricultural production has been damaged, and some planting processes are at risk in the region after farmlands were subjected to intense hailstorms, rainfall, and tornadoes.

Firefighters were also on high alert in Marghera, near Venice, where a rainstorm on Thursday night hit a large petrochemical plant, affecting the local water purification system.

Near Borgo Mantovano in Mantova province, a freight train was overturned due to winds of up to 200 km per hour.

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