Red Cross responds as Cyclone Cleopatra death toll rises in Sardinia

Published: 19 November 2013 16:38 CET

Italian Red Cross staff and volunteers have been called to respond after torrential rains and a cyclone caused rivers to burst their banks killing at least 18 people on the island of Sardinia.

Over a hundred Red Cross emergency responders have been busy supporting people affected by the disaster after up to 40cm of rain fell in just 24 hours as the storm, known as Cyclone Cleopatra, hit. The Red Cross has deployed 25 vehicles, while pneumatic tents are in place to shelter those whose homes were damaged by the storm.

The government has declared a state of emergency. The floods have carried away cars, submerged homes and caused bridges to collapse. The Italian Red Cross said hundreds of people had been forced out of their homes and into temporary shelters set up in sports halls and other centres.

“We have a large party of responders to this disaster. From yesterday morning, all provincial volunteer bases were alerted and mobilised,” said Tommaso Della Longa, from the Italian Red Cross. “Our biggest response is in the province of Oristano, where volunteers have evacuated people from their homes and taken them to the safer municipal gym. We are also delivering food and blankets and we have four ambulances in use. There are also water rescue teams assisting people.”