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The worst drought in the last 70 years, Italy declares a state of emergency in 5 regions
Italy has declared a state of emergency in five northern regions, following the worst drought in 70 years.
The regions of Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto are concerned, the government said in a statement.
The decision approved by the Council of Ministers foresees 36.5 million euros allocated to cope with the drought.
The Po River Valley, which produces about 40% of the country's food, including wheat and rice, has seen almost no rain for about four months. The river, Italy's longest, is seven meters below average.
Almost half of Italian livestock at risk
The state of emergency aims to grant "extraordinary means and powers" to ensure the implementation of emergency interventions necessary to guarantee public safety, the repair of damage to public and private property and the normal living conditions of the population.
According to the country's largest agricultural union, Coldiretti, the drought is also threatening half of the livestock in the Po Valley, where Parma ham is produced.
Lakes Maggiore and Garda have lower water levels than normal for this time of year, while further south the level of the Tiber River, which runs through Rome, has also fallen.
Another consequence of the drought is that hydroelectric power production has dropped significantly. Hydroelectric installations, located mostly in the mountainous regions of northern Italy, produce nearly 20% of the country's energy.
The announcement comes a day after at least seven people died after a glacier in the Italian Alps collapsed, "no doubt" linked to global warming, according to Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
More than a hundred municipalities in northern Italy have been forced to adopt measures to save water. Verona, a city of a quarter of a million inhabitants, and Pisa recently joined them.