A 53-year-old man drowned in Gravina di Catania overwhelmed by the storm water that has been hitting the Etna capital and the province for hours. The victim was in a car that got stuck in the flooded road. Firefighters, municipal police and 118 personnel intervened on the spot. There was nothing to be done.
Catania is submerged by water. Via Etnea has turned into a river in flood. Piazza Duomo and numerous streets in the center flooded. Hundreds of motorists were stranded, as well as traders, who saw their shops flooded with water. In via Etnea shelter was sought on the first floors of the buildings. After the flood that yesterday mainly affected the southern area of the city and the Calatino, a violent storm has been putting the capital to a severe test this morning.
There are over 170 requests for intervention received by the fire brigade operations room: these are requests for help for people in difficulty in their cars and their homes, many are the damage caused by the fury of water and flooding. Vigilants from all over Sicily arrived in the Etna capital. In Misterbianco, in the Monte Pò area, rescuers rescued several people who were stuck in cars.
Bad weather in the Catania area, the west ring road closed due to flooding
“The water that goes down like a raging river. From the office I see two elderly people trying to cross the street and one of them falling and being dragged by the rain current. All this cannot be real. my eyes the apocalyptic scenario of one of those films about natural disasters “. To tell beraking latest news an almost surreal day, experienced from the window of her shop in Via Antonino Longo, in the heart of the Sicilian city, is Francesca Rinaldi, 59 year old resident in Catania and employee of the Catania company “Tutto Parquet”. The 59-year-old was stuck inside the shop for 4 hours.
“Of the elderly couple at the traffic lights, the man who fell managed to save himself only by clinging to a pole, but without being able to get up – the 59-year-old continues – I wanted to help him, I was so afraid for him but I could not put foot outside the door of the shop. Fortunately a girl, as soon as she saw the scene, stopped the car to help him. My colleague and I shouted at her, asking her not to do it because it would be dangerous and she would be dragged too. her, but the young woman did not stop “.
“I felt helpless in not being able to help that elderly couple, because on the one hand you want to do it – she adds – but on the other hand you are held back by the fear of being dragged by the storm. I saw a Fiat that almost floated, pushed by the current. There were two ladies on board. One of them pulled her hand out of the window as if to ask for help. I wanted to help them too but I couldn’t. So I burst into tears, started shaking and called for help. Luckily , a boy who was on the same side of the curb as they did, managed to get them out, before the car was carried away by the current, and then stop across the window of our shop. I was even afraid he might break it. “.
Catania, the road turns into a stream: cars get stuck under the storm
“At the moment they are not injured, but the situation is really serious – explains the councilor for Civil Protection Alessandro Porto – the prefect has called a crisis table. Many people have had to leave their homes and the firefighters are overloaded with work”. Flooded the historic market of the ‘Pescheria’ and the fountain was also invaded from where the underground river Amenano emerges for a while. To aggravate the situation also the rainwater that pours into the city from the Etna villages and arrives copiously on Catania and an electric blackout that affects the historic center and which also affected the Town Hall.
Catania invaded by water, a city in emergency
The appeal of the mayor of Catania
“Since yesterday our city has experienced a dramatic situation linked to the weather conditions that are afflicting the whole eastern part of Sicily – writes Salvo Pogliese on Facebook – exceptional events without precedent for violence and intensity. Unfortunately a man died in Gravina, victim of phenomena extreme weather conditions which, as in Scordia, affect us with other griefs. Due to the gravity of the situation, in agreement with the prefect, I have ordered the immediate closure of all commercial activities with the exception of pharmacies, food and basic necessities “.
“The mayor continues:” All the men and women of the civil protection with the volunteers are working to respond to the hundreds of emergency calls, together with the firefighters and the police – adds Pogliese – There are many trapped citizens who they ask for emergency interventions for the level reached by the rain, almost 150 millimeters fallen in a few hours “. Pogliese therefore urges the people of Catania” not to leave the house except for emergency reasons – he says – because the streets are invaded by water “.
Emergency in hospital and airport
Water and mud have also invaded the pediatric emergency room of the Garibaldi hospital and the building that houses the personal management of the Municipality in Piazza Gandolfo. The building was evacuated. It also rains inside the Court, both in the main structure in Piazza Verga and in the one in Via Crispi. Dangers also for those traveling on the ring road, flooding is recorded in particular between San Giovanni Galermo and Misterbianco.
Bad weather in Catania, flooding at the Garibaldi hospital
Since yesterday, however, the village of Santa Maria Goretti has been submerged, close to the Fontanarossa airport where heavy inconveniences on departing and arriving flights continue to be registered. Similar situation in most of the industrial area and in the villages towards Syracuse, starting with Vaccarizzo. Here the flooding of the Simeto river worsened the situation by forcing the closure of state roads 114 and 194.
Bad weather, in Catania streets like rivers and lake in Piazza Duomo
The general manager of the regional department of civil protection, Salvo Cocina, attended the meeting called by the prefect Maria Carmela Librizzi, the mayors of the capital and of the municipalities most affected by atmospheric events, the leaders of the police forces, the captaincy commander of Porto, the provincial commander of the Fire Brigade, the leaders of the detachment and of the section of the Polstrada, the leader of the Border Police, the Army, the ASP, the ENAC, RfiI and Enel.
Bad weather in the Catanese area, the Simeto river overflows: the images from above
In the meantime, due to heavy rains, a new overflow of the Simeto river has occurred: the Anas was forced to close the circulation of the state road 192 “Valley of the firm”, near kilometer 81, in the Etna capital.
The storm also created some problems at the Fontanarossa airport. Some flights experienced only delayed departures. “Due to persistent and adverse weather conditions – the press office of the airport communicates – the closure of Terminal C scheduled for November 1st, is brought forward to today with immediate effect; therefore all flight operations will be carried out at Terminal A”.
The contest postponed
Two hundred remained blocked for hours in the dark at Maas, the fruit, vegetable and fish market in Catania, where the rehearsals for the competition for 1,541 permanent positions were scheduled from Monday to Friday at the Ministry of Labor and Inail. Despite the hundreds of emails sent by the competitors to the Formez and the red alert, the first two days of rehearsals (Monday and Tuesday) took place regularly, but for 200 candidates in the afternoon session the rehearsal turned into an odyssey. “Many candidates had given up or had not been able to reach the Maas – says Giusi Zangla – at 17, when the test was not yet over, the light went out due to a black out and we remained inside in the dark, then we went out and towards at 8 pm the civil protection vehicles arrived “.
The Maas, which is located near the airport and the industrial area of Catania, was surrounded by water and it was impossible to move. Only at that point, the competition and the tests for the next few days also scheduled in Syracuse were canceled.
But for many other candidates it was still a difficult day to reach the competition venues in the middle of the storm by private transport or by bus. “I could not get to the Maas for the test – a competitor vents on Facebook – The police blocked me saying that the roads were attached and ordered me to go back”. Another candidate urges: “I asked who will be responsible if something should happen to the candidates.”
The deputy of the Democratic Party Carmelo Miceli also spoke about the controversy, announcing a parliamentary question: “How is it possible that, knowing everything that occurs in our region on days of intense bad weather, no one has decided to postpone the selection – has said Miceli – Why were thousands of Sicilian residents forced to choose whether to venture into the middle of real rivers of mud or to give up the dream of a job? ”.