Italy declares emergency in 5 regions as drought hits
Italy designates emergency funds and a state of emergency in five northern areas due to a drought, the worst in 70 years, in the Po Valley.
On Monday, Italy designated emergency funds and a state of emergency in five northern areas due to a drought that has been ravaging the Po Valley for several weeks and is only getting worse. The Cabinet has given the go-ahead for a state of emergency to last until December 31 in five regions: Friuli-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto.
The government also announced a $39.5 million fund to aid people in need as Italy experienced an early heatwave and a drought that is the worst in 70 years. The state of emergency provides "extraordinary means and powers" to help guarantee public safety and compensation for losses while also looking to guarantee normal living conditions for those in the region.
In accordance with Italy’s major agricultural union, Coldiretti, the drought threatens not only 30% of the national agricultural production but also half of the farms in the Po Valley.
Furthermore, the levels of water have dropped, relative to the given time of year, at the two lakes Maggiore and Garda. In addition, even the southern Tiber River, which runs through Rome, has also witnessed a drop in water levels.
The Po is the biggest water reservoir on the peninsula, and farmers utilize a lot of it to sustain themselves. As a result of the climate crisis, several towns have announced limitations on water consumption. For example, Milan has declared the closing of its ornamental fountains, while Verona, a city of 25,000, has restricted the usage of drinking water.
The decision comes after the region of #Lombardy declared a state of emergency and targeted around half of the city's 100 ornate fountains, with many already turned off over the weekend. The rest are expected to be turned off in the coming days.#Italy #Drought pic.twitter.com/PqrsFUvDe0— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) June 28, 2022
The drought has also resulted in a dramatic decline in hydroelectric power generation. Nearly 20% of the nation's energy production is generated by hydroelectric facilities, the majority of which are located in the mountainous north of the country.
The revelation comes a day after a glacier fell in the Italian Alps claimed at least seven lives and was "without doubt" related to global warming, according to Prime Minister Mario Draghi.