Europe

Italy drought: 11 regions poised for state of emergency

People cool off in the River Po near the Ponte della Becca bridge in Linarolo, near Pavia, northern Italy, 1 August Image copyright AFP
Image caption The River Po at Linarolo in Lombardy has shrunk considerably

Eleven of Italy's 20 regions are set to ask for a state of emergency to be declared in order to help tackle the ongoing drought.

They span the country, from Veneto in the north to Sicily in the south, and include the Lazio region around Rome.

Agriculture Minister Maurizio Martina said the government was ready to respond swiftly by activating the national solidarity fund.

Record temperatures and a long period without rain have created the drought.

Last week, local authorities in Rome reached a deal to avert drastic water rationing, while the Vatican has economised by shutting down its fountains.

The farmers' association Coldiretti says the agriculture sector has suffered losses of at least €2bn (£1.8bn; $2.4bn).

The other regions named on Wednesday are Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Marche, Molise, Puglia, Calabria, Sardinia and the autonomous province of Trento.

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