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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 September 2018

Italian flood death toll rises to 11

Heavy rain and strong winds hit the south of Italy 

Rescue vehicles gather in Civita, Italy. AP
Rescue vehicles gather in Civita, Italy. AP

Eleven hikers, up from eight, are now reported to have died in flash floods in Italy's southern Calabria region, with five people still missing, rescue services said on Tuesday.

Several hiking groups were caught on Monday afternoon by the flooding in the Raganello river gorge in southern Cosenza province, with local authorities saying that 23 people had been rescued.

They said the incident involved two groups of 18 hikers each, with powerful floodlights brought up to allow rescuers to work through the night.

A Dutch hiker, quoted in local media, said: "A real avalanche of water came unexpectedly. We did not have time to do anything. I was lucky, it was an incredible thing."

On Monday, this part of Calabria experienced several hours of heavy rain and strong winds although conditions began to improve during the evening.

The dramatic gorges carved by the Raganello river are only recommended for experienced hikers due to the many challenges posed by the route, which at certain times of the year is rendered off-limits, the AGI news agency reported.

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