France and Italy Floods
A woman wades through waist-deep floodwaters. Reuters

More than 20 rivers have burst their banks in northern Italy, causing Emilia-Romagna to flood for the third time in 2023. A reported 13 people have died in the inundation of river water, which has also caused 13,000 people to desert their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

The riverbanks have been burst after the region witnessed over 50 per cent of the annual rainfall levels within 36 hours. Around 280 landslides have occurred, and many people have been reported missing in the area that remains swamped, according to sources in Italy.

The current situation in the Emilia-Romagna region.

The emergency services are stretched, using helicopters to airlift the local community from rooftops and flooded streets. Divers have been recovering bodies, while hundreds of people have been trapped and stranded in towns nearby.

The mayor of Emilia-Romagna said: "The city is on its knees, devastated and in pain."

He continued with: "We reiterate a call to citizens to stay away from rivers, not to enter basements, or underground rooms for any reason. And for those who live near the river, to stay on the first floor and not to go down to the ground floor."

The inundation of river water has engulfed over 21 cities, including Bologna, San Marino and Ravenna, destroying homes, restaurants and shops.

Stefano Bonaccini, president of the Emilia-Romagna region told reporters: "Extraordinary amounts of rain have fallen on land no longer capable of absorbing them."

Most of the people who died were hit by the landslides or drowned in the streams of water which swept their bodies into the current that flowed through the region. At least five of the fatalities were aged 70 to 80 years old.

The Formula 1 (F1) Romagna Grand Prix has been cancelled, which was set to take place from 19 to 21 May, due to the heavy flooding near Imola. The tourist board in Bologna urges citizens and fans of the race, to limit their travel to the northern region – allowing for essential journeys only.

Formula 1 sent out an official statement that read: "The decision has been taken because it is not possible to safely hold the event for our fans, the teams and our personnel and it is the right and responsible thing to do given the situation faced by the towns and cities in the region. It would not be right to put further pressure on the local authorities and emergency services at this difficult time."

The Formula 1 Romagna Grand Prix has been cancelled, due to high water levels.

Ferrari, which is based nearby in Maranello, has donated €1 million to the Emilia-Romagna Region's Agency for Territorial Safety and Civil Protection.

The chief executive officer of Ferrari, Benedetto Vigna, made a statement regarding the current situation in Emilia-Romagna, stating: "We wanted to provide a concrete and immediate response to the most urgent needs of the population of Emilia-Romagna, which has been tried by a serious environmental disaster."

"With the coordination of the local authorities, to whom our heartfelt thanks go for their tireless work, this aid will bring comfort and a tangible sign of the solidarity of the entire Ferrari family," he added.