Drought Emergency Declared in Five Regions of Italy - Report

The Italian government has declared a state of emergency in five northern regions due to drought, media reported on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi has allocated 36 million euros (about $37 million) of financial aid for the regions of Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto, according to the Italian news agency ANSA. The government will also appoint a special commissioner to solve the crisis and guarantee water supply in the affected areas.

The water levels of the Po river, Italy's longest river that forms the widest and most fertile plain, are three quarters down, making the current drought the worst in 70 years and causing serious problems for agriculture, the news agency reported.

A heatwave has been looming over Italy in the past several weeks, bringing temperatures to record-high 40 degrees Celsius (104  degrees Fahrenheit). The heatwave coupled with low rainfall and a very dry winter have exacerbated the drought crisis.

The Italian Civil Protection Department hopes to mitigate the crisis with water management and rationing during day hours. Restrictions for daytime water use have already been imposed in some areas, in others water is cut off even during the night, ANSA reported.

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