The extraordinary nature of the bad weather should bring us to react to the issue of the river banks in the Rome territory and in other places."
Rome (ANTARA News/Xinhua-OANA) - Rome and other cities in Italy on Friday were battered by an extraordinary wave of bad weather that prompted Prime Minister Enrico Letta to call for "the utmost attention" and declare a state of emergency.

Between 90 and 130 millimeters of rain were reported to have fallen in Rome and its surrounding territory only in a 24 hour time lapse, triggering panic with around 3,000 citizens making phone calls for aid to the emergency helpline.

Continuous torrential rains flooded the basements of dozens of buildings in the Italian capital forcing citizens to take to the roofs of their houses to escape waters as high as three meters. Many families had to leave their homes.

Six nomads living in Rome under makeshift shelters were found in good condition by rescue teams after they were swept away by a landslide, while firemen pulled to safety some families with young children, Rome-based Il Messaggero newspaper reported.

A pregnant woman in labor was rescued from the waters and rushed to hospital.

Some subway stations staid closed in the Italian capital, where authorities also recommended to citizens not to take their cars and remain home.

A man was reported by ANSA news agency to be in serious conditions after being struck by an electric shock inside his flooded office near Rome.

Beside threatening citizens, the wave of bad weather also disrupted traffic throughout the historic city and caused major economic damage, with basements and shops flooded.

Waters rising from a river near the capitals Fiumicino International Airport forced local authorities to temporarily suspend the railway connection with Roma Termini train station in the city center.

No people were reported to be injured but a passenger had a dizzy spell due to a derailment of a local train near Viterbo, a city north of Rome, which was also caused by bad weather.

Following a council of ministers, Letta assured that emergency squads would closely monitor the situation around Rome as well as other cities in Italy.

"The extraordinary nature of the bad weather should bring us to react to the issue of the river banks in the Rome territory and in other places," he warned.

Though the wave of torrential rain especially hit the capital, other major cities of Italy including Florence and Venice as well as their territories suffered big impact. Small rivers broke their banks causing landslides and big damages to many cultivated areas.

More than 1,000 people were evacuated from buildings that were reported to be structurally endangered near Florence, while in water city Venice, in northern Italy, rain-swollen seasonal high tides rose 140 cm above average sea level covering St Marks Square and other famous places.

Reporter: Marzia De Giuli
Editor: Priyambodo RH
Copyright © ANTARA 2014