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Sardinia mourns flood dead, bad weather moves to mainland Italy

/ 09:05 PM November 20, 2013

Two tankers are battered by gale winds while at the roadstead in the rough waters of the Gulf of Cagliari, Sardinia, Monday, Nov. 18, 2013. A violent rainstorm that flooded entire parts of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia has led to the deaths of at least nine people. Bridges were felled by swollen rivers and water levels reached 3 metres (yards) in some places. AP

ROME, Italy—The port city of Olbia in Sardinia held a day of mourning Wednesday and prepared to bury its dead after flash floods left 16 people on the island dead.

One person was still reported missing two days after heavy rain and high winds flooded homes, but the number of people in emergency shelter had been reduced from 2,700 to 1,700, Italy’s civil protection agency said.

“The search for the missing person continues, as does the rescue operation. We think the road network will be usable by the end of the day,” a member of the agency’s press office told AFP.

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The death toll of 16 was revised down from a figure of 18 announced by government on Tuesday.

Rain continued to fall overnight but caused no further damage to buildings or bridges on the island.

Olbia, a popular holiday destination in the summer months which was left almost entirely under water, declared a day of mourning and began organizing funerals for six of the flood victims.

The bad weather crept across onto the mainland, flooding streets and felling trees in the south of the country, from the Calabria region to the capital.

Authorities in Calabria were preparing to declare a state of natural disaster after “floods and landslides which have caused damage and constitute a danger” for inhabitants.

In Rome, firemen were called out 150 times during the night to remove fallen trees from roads and pump water out of cellars. Ferries between Naples and nearby islands were also halted.

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