© Copyright ANSA
"The fact that these phenomena happen from time to time does not mean we have to resign ourselves to the fact that they are uncontrollable. Quite the opposite actually, as we must implement dynamic strategies and designs that make the territory safe," says the Cia - Confederazione italiana agricoltori (Italian grower confederation).
Storm Cleopatra brought strong thunderstorms and heavy rain. Consequences for agriculture were disastrous. "The countryside is on its knees. Company structures and buildings (greenhouses, warehouses, farmsteads, cellars, stables) are underwater. Hundreds of families were evacuated and machinery is damaged. Fields are flooded and many rural streets are not viable. Livestocks have also been affected as many animals went missing. This is why the natural disaster status has been requested."
Confagricoltura expressed its condolences for the victims. "This tragedy confirms the need to secure the territory and reinstate the hydrogeological balance of our Country. We must re-evaluate the role commercial farms have for the safeguard of the environment."
Click on "Play" to watch the video.
These images were collected by the Police. They show Gologone, Oliena, Galtellì, the Cedrino river and the 131 Olbia-Nuoro motorway.
Flooded warehouses and stands, wrecked roofs, broken glass and even two overturned articulated lorries - this is what happened at Sestu produce market (Cagliari). "There were some apocalyptic scenes. The structure was damaged and we are working to repair things," says Enzo Trinchillo from Cagliari Frutta. "My stand was safe but next to me a lot of panels flew around. People were running away and trying to secure the produce," confirms Stefano Calatri, owner of Fruit of Calatri.
"Here in Villasor, 25 km away from Cagliari, and in the areas surrounding river Mannu, many artichoke beds were flooded and there is nothing that can be done about the areas that are still under water. Damage is more evident for the zootechnical sector towards Villacidro, San Gavino and Guspini. In Southern Sardinia, it started raining between 18th and 19th November and rivers overflowed, but there was much more damage in the North of the island," reports Francesco Matta, owner of a company in Villasor.
"Our company was not damaged but sales are at a standstill and viability is slow - it is surreal," explains Maria Chiara Cavallaro of Tonino Cavallaro & C, fruit and vegetable wholesaler located in Olbia. "Unfortunately floods affected many people. The basement of my sister's house was also flooded."
© Copyright ANSA
"Here in Palau there were no particular problems but business is stalling because supplies from Olbia are blocked and we do not know how long it will take to go back to normality," explains Ortofrutticola Angioi di Angioi e Saporito Snc.
"A real tragedy, the weather was horrible but our company was not affected because we are located higher up in Arzachena. The Civil Protection and a lot of volunteers worked all night long. Things are going back to normal though the forecast says it will start to rain again," says Giacomina Cossu from Gallura Frutta.
As regards crops, the Category and Producer organisations are monitoring the situation. "We have no news form our associates yet but of course floods and wind will have affected fields," comments Michele Abis from the Associazione regionale produttori Ortofrutticoli della Sardegna (Arpos). "The tomato campaign is at a standstill and at the moment they were cultivating artichokes and other winter vegetables. It will take some time to assess damages."
© Copyright ANSA
The weather is also affecting other regions, Campania and Puglia in particular, as there have been floods and landslides.
"The situation in Catanzaro is tragic. Luckily it stopped raining and rivers are starting to flow back towards the sea. From a first inspection, we fear 70% of our production is lost. We had broccoli, turnips, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, onions, strawberries and courgettes. The latter have completely gone and a field of alfalfa was flooded. We still do not know if we will be able to recover," say Fortunato and Antonio Cosco from Azienda Cosco Fortunato.
What is left of a courgette field of the Azienda Cosco Fortunato. The sea can be seen in the background.
The situation is more or less the same in the whole area. "It started to rain between 18th and 19th November, but things turned critical around six in the morning of the 19th. We did not expect the river level to rise 5 metres in a few minutes and the water took away plants and mulching films with it. Luckily, the dam created by trees and debris caved in after having invaded our warehouses, otherwise we would have risked a lot. Thank God we are here to tell the tale. We will get through this!".
What is left of a courgette field of the Azienda Cosco Fortunato.
According to a producer from Crotone, the situation is very serious: the fields in the area are all flooded and it is not possible to assess the damage as many roads are not viable. "At the moment the sky is clear. We mainly cultivate fennel and spinach. It is too early to make an assessment, but if there is still water in the fields, our harvest is gone."
Motorway 107 near Caccuri. Source: ilquotidianoweb.it
A violent thunderstorm also hit Taranto (Puglia) and the surrounding area, causing a lot of damage. Many cars were stuck in underpasses and the fire fighters are working to pump the water out of shops and basements. The tarmac collapsed in some roads too.
B road 15 in Castellaneta (between Masseria Gaudella and Laterza) collapsed at various stages and the situation is difficult also in Ginosa and Marina di Ginosa, where four people died because of the flood. Fire fighter operations are also made difficult by the strong wind.
Source: FreshPlaza / cia.it / confagricoltura / ansa.it