Heavy rainstorms cause five deaths in Italy

ROME Wed Oct 26, 2011 6:54am EDT

Rubble is seen after rainstorms in Brugnato, near La Spezia October 26, 2011. REUTERS/Ansa/Luca Zennaro

Rubble is seen after rainstorms in Brugnato, near La Spezia October 26, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Ansa/Luca Zennaro

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ROME (Reuters) - Five people were killed and eight reported missing after torrential rainstorms caused widespread flooding and mudslides in north and central Italy, authorities said Wednesday.

Thunderstorms lashed parts of Liguria and Tuscany late on Tuesday, bringing down several bridges and at least one house, cutting off electricity and water, disrupting train services and blocking roads.

"Everything is missing here -- supplies, water, electricity," said Angelo Betta, mayor of the town of Monterosso in the scenic tourist area of Cinque Terre on the Ligurian coast in northwestern Italy.

"People are getting into their houses through the terraces, everything is flooded. Monterosso doesn't exist anymore."

Rescue teams said they were having difficulty reaching some of the flooded areas and people were being evacuated by sea from some towns along the spectacular coast. The army has been put on standby to help in rescue efforts.

The storm front moved south to Rome Wednesday, where authorities said the situation was under control despite heavy rain across the Italian capital that caused traffic jams.

Heavy rainfall and storms are expected in regions further south later in the week.

(Writing by Deepa Babington; Editing by Barry Moody)

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