Damage to crops in Italy

Rain and hail is causing damage and no peace in Emilia Romagna

On Friday 12 May 2023 huge parts of Emilia Romagna were again jolted by excessive rainfall. And if that was not enough, hail also hit the area of Bologna, Forlì and Cesena, damaging vegetables and fruit trees not protected by nets.

Damage caused by hail in Carpinello, in the province of Forlì-Cesena. Photo Gianmarco Venturi

"It just never stops. Yesterday we had frost and flooding, today hail, and who knows what will happen tomorrow," said Guglielmo Garagnani, president of Confagricoltura Bologna. "We are confident that growers have insured on time, but an initial inspection in the fields tells us that the situation is serious. This umpteenth climatic setback shows that growers no longer have certainties. The present is difficult, and the future is full of question marks. Some growers have lost entire crops, while others, with last week's flooding, no longer even have a house to live in."

Hailstorm in Bagnolo di Forlì. Photo by Carlotta Piersantelli for Meteo-Pedemontana Forlivese

The disastrous floods of 3-4 May caused extensive damage in Romagna, with hundreds of landslides in the hilly areas around Ravenna and Forlì-Cesena and floods on the plains around Ravenna blocking access to farms, interrupting or destroying roads, wiping out crops, flooding houses and barns, and dragging down vehicles, objects, orchards and vineyards.

The situation is dramatic. "The series of exceptional events in recent years - drought, hailstorms, late frosts and floods - has endangered the horticultural sector and its related sectors," said Danilo Misirocchi, president of Cia Romagna.

The industry association pointed out that because of this extraordinary situation, funds from the government are urgently needed to compensate for the damage and to start the necessary interventions to rebuild infrastructures for people, communities and farms. Misirocchi also reiterates the need for bureaucratic simplification, as the excessive number of steps to apply for assistance often leads to delays or the blocking of necessary interventions.

Cia Romagna further emphasized that the cleaning of riverbeds should be done according to the instructions of technicians and not ideological/ecological guidelines. "Riverbeds serve to allow water to pass through. The environmental damage from a flood is exponentially greater than any damage caused by cleaning the riverbeds," concluded Misirocchi.

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