The death toll from storms in Sardinia rose to at least 16 on Tuesday (November 19), with many areas still out of reach of rescue services, the governor of the Italian island said.

Overnight, Cyclone Cleopatra caused rivers to burst their banks, sweeping away cars and flooding homes. A meeting of the Italian cabinet has been called to discuss the emergency.

Regional governor Ugo Cappellacci told SkyTG24 television that the town of Olbia in the northeast had been flooded with several bridges down and there was a similar situation near the central town of Nuoro.

In addition to nine reported dead overnight, a family of four living in a ground floor flat in an area of Olbia were found in their home, apparently after being surprised by the sudden explosion of water, he said.

Cappellacci said people had escaped to hotels, and that there were thousands whose homes had been damaged by the floods.

Amateur video showed a flooded Mercure Hotel in Olbia with chairs and tables sitting in about half a metre of water.

With many roads closed on the island, it is proving difficult for emergency services to reach affected areas and assess the full extent of the damage.

So far hundreds of people have been moved from their homes.

Presented by Adam Justice

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