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Eighth flood victim’s body recovered in flooded Italian city

Livorno (Italy), Sep 12 (IANS/AKI) Rescue workers recovered the corpse of a 67-year-old pensioner in Livorno on Tuesday, bringing to eight the number of people killed in flash flooding in the Italian port city at the weekend.

Gianfrano Tampucci’s body was recovered from mud near his home, firemen said. He was the last person known to be missing in the floods.

A day earlier, in a private garden in Livorno, search teams found the body of the seventh flood victim – a 34-year-old woman, named as Martina Bechini. Her husband was found alive nearby, suffering from hypothermia.

On Sunday, the bodies of a couple, their four-year-old son and his grandfather were discovered in a flooded basement flat. The couple’s three-year-old girl survived after her grandfather managed to push the child to safety before drowning with the rest of the family.

Two other bodies were recovered separately, one in an area of Livorno hit by landslides and the other in a nearby hilltop district of the city, fire services said.

An elderly woman was also killed in a car accident between Livorno and the Tuscan city of Pisa caused by heavy rains. Cloubursts also caused flash floods and damage in other Italian cities on Saturday and Sunday, including Pisa and the capital, Rome.

Prosecutors have launched a manslaughter probe into the deadly flooding in Livorno, where the Mayor Filippo Nogarin has criticised Italy’s civil protection agency for “underestimating” the severity of the floods and issuing an ‘orange’ alert level rather than the more serious ‘red’ level.

There could be 15,000 families in Livorno affected by the flooding and over a billion euros of damage, Nogarin told Italian broadcaster RAI.

“The situation in Livorno remains critical but things are slowly returning to normal. There are still problematic areas of the city but we are in contact with citizens,” Nogarin told RAI 3’s Agora programme.

Residents in Livorno are “shocked” and “very angry” they did not receive adequate warning on the risks posed by the flash floods, Livorno’s Bishop, Monsignor Simone Giusti, told Adnkronos on Monday.

“People are shocked…. they complain that they were not given sufficient warning and they are very angry,” he said.

“It may be that all the correct procedures were followed. Prosecutors will determine that… but in any event, these procedures may need revision.”

Giusti urged Italian authorities to undertake all necessary work to safeguard Livorno residents in the event of further rainfall and to help them get back into their flooded homes “as soon as possible”.

Tuscany’s regional government on Monday requested special state of emergency powers to speed up the post-flood recovery.

Some 400 people are currently involved in Livorno’s clean-up operation including firefighters, local authorities and volunteers.

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