Italy Declares State of Emergency Over Worsening Drought

According to the office of Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Italy has declared a state of emergency due to the worsening drought that has been plaguing five northern regions in recent weeks.

According to a government statement on Monday, the cabinet declared a state of emergency in Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto until December 31 and set aside a 36.5 million euro ($39.5 million) fund to assist people impacted.

Notably in the northern agricultural Po valley, which has been devastated by its worst drought in decades, Italy is experiencing an abnormally early warmth and a lack of rainfall.

The state of an emergency gives the government “extraordinary means and powers” to assist ensure public safety, pay for losses, and attempt to maintain normal living circumstances for individuals who live in the region.

Several towns have announced restrictions recently.

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Milan has declared the closing of its ornamental fountains, while Verona, a city of 25,000, has rationed the usage of drinking water.

The drought has caused a dramatic decline in hydroelectric power generation. Nearly 20% of the nation’s energy production is generated by hydroelectric plants, the majority of which are located in the hilly north of the country.

At least seven people perished the day before the emergency was declared after a glacier collapsed in the Italian Alps, which Draghi claimed was “without a doubt” related to global warming.