Rome, Jul 5 (EFE).- Italy has declared a state of emergency to combat a drought affecting five northern regions that the Po River, the country’s largest, runs through.
The state of emergency, which will see 36 million euros ($37.5 million) allocated to regional governments, comes with the Po at its lowest level in 70 years.
The situation has been exacerbated by the lack of snow in the eastern Alps over winter.
Head of Regional Affairs Mariastella Gelmini said Monday night that the aid would not stop there.
The focus now, she said, would be to use European Union funds for the National Recovery and Resilience Plan that are for “strengthening water networks and improving the irrigation system to protect agriculture and crops.”
Italy, which for weeks has been facing record temperatures that has worsened the drought, is also considering the appointment of an extraordinary commissioner to implement the first measures to address the shortage of water.
According to data from the country’s largest farmers’ association, Coldiretti, “there are about 270,000 farms in the regions affected by the state of emergency (…) An agri-food capital that risks disappearing under the blows of drought, with damages that have already exceeded 3 billion euros.
“Umbria and Tuscany, in central Italy, have also requested the declaration of a state of emergency — which has not yet been granted — due to the low levels of Lake Trasimeno, one of the most important hydrological reserves in the area.
In the regions of Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont, mayors are implementing measures such as water rationing for irrigating fields, a ban on filling swimming pools and watering private gardens, and water supply cuts overnight.
A partial glacier collapse on Sunday that killed at least seven hikers in the Italian Alps has been linked by Italian authorities and experts to global warming following the country’s intense heatwave. EFE