The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Tragedy in Sicily Pushes Italian Storm Deaths Above 30
The tragedy brought the death toll from Italy's week of punishing wind and rain to more than 30, The Guardian said, as the country endures what the civil protection agency called "one of the most complex meteorological situations of the past 50 to 60 years."
Giuseppe Giordano was one of the only family members to survive, since he had left the villa with a child to run an errand. Another child who had clung to a tree also survived. Giordano, who lost his wife, two sons, parents, brother and sister in the deluge, had been renting the riverside house for two years.
"Why did they rent to us this house in such a place," Giordano lamented to The Guardian. "I've lost everything now. Why didn't they tell us that this was a flooding area?"
Giovanni Di Giacinto, the mayor of the town where the flooding occurred, confirmed that the home had been illegally built too close to the river and that the owners had appealed a demolition order. But blame for the week's storms and their consequences goes beyond local construction decisions, as U.S. Climate Action Network Executive Director Keya Chaterjee told USA Today.
Chatterjee noted that the storms in Italy followed other devastating weather events this year, including hurricanes Florence and Michael in the United States and Super Typhoon Yutu that hit Guam and the Philippines.
"What we're seeing is part of a trend," Chaterjee said. "It is happening as part of a climate that we have altered through the burning of fossil fuels. Unfortunately, it it totally consistent with what has been predicted for decades and decades at this point."
Here are some of the other ways that extreme weather has devastated Italy this past week.
1. Tens of Thousands of Trees Flattened
Winds as strong as 118 miles per hour toppled trees in the famous Violin Forest where Antonio Stradivarius sourced wood for his iconic instruments, CNN reported. In the region of Veneto, around 300,000 trees were "felled like toothpicks," regional council president Roberto Ciambetti said.
2. Historic Damage
EcoWatch already reported that Venice survived its highest tide in at least a decade last week, but that flooding also damaged the floors of St. Mark's Basilica.
"In a single day, the basilica aged 20 years, but perhaps this is an optimistic consideration," head of the Basilica board Carlo Alberto Tesserin said in a statement reported by CNN.
3. Villages Cut Off
Landslides triggered by the storms have cut off entire villages, authorities said, including the popular fishing village of Portofino, near Genoa, where the main road collapsed and an emergency path was deemed unsafe to use.
"It won't be easy or quick but we count on returning Portofino next summer to the millions of tourists who come to visit it," regional governor Giovanni Toti said, according to The Guardian.
Correction: An earlier version of this article reported the wind speed as 188 miles per hour and the number of trees felled as 30,000. This has been corrected to list the wind speed as 118 miles per hour and the number of downed trees as 300,000.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Charli Shield
At unsettling times like the coronavirus outbreak, it might feel like things are very much out of your control. Most routines have been thrown into disarray and the future, as far as the experts tell us, is far from certain.
By Elizabeth Henderson
Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:
By Julia Conley
A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.