Death toll from Italian storms rises to 29

Three other members of the same family were able to escape from the house

Three other members of the same family were able to escape from the house

A man walks through garbage between two yachts after a storm hit the harbour and destroyed a part of the dam on 30 October 2018 in Rapallo, near Genoa, Italy. Italian state radio says a rain-swollen river in the countryside near Palermo, Sicily, has flooded a home, killing 9 people.

Across the island, in the town of Cammarata, near Agrigento, the fire department said its divers were working to recover the bodies of two people swept away while driving on a road near the flooding Saraceno River.

Nine people, including children aged one, three and 15, were found dead in a house in Casteldaccia, next to a small river which had burst its banks.

Two more fatalities occurred in the region around the Sicilian town of Agrigento when the vehicle they were traveling in was hit by a landslide, another official said.

When he opened the door, "there was a river of water, I was knocked down and grabbed hold of a tree", Giuseppe Giordano told reporters between sobs. "I was yelling, 'Help, help"'. He has a daughter who was elsewhere when the flooding struck.

Italian news reports said a 1-year-old, a 3-year-old and a teenager were among the flood victims from the family get-together in Casteldaccia. The victims were from two families who had gathered in the country villa for the weekend.

Premier Conte called the disaster "an huge tragedy".

Rescuers retrieved the bodies from the home.

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Officials have opened an investigation to determine whether houses built near the river had complied with safety norms.

A nursing home up the road was spared any damage, ANSA reported.

Numerous victims were killed by falling trees, and authorities said gale-force winds have destroyed around 14 million trees across the country, but mainly in the far north. "We'll need at least a century to return to normality", said the Coldiretti, the association of Italian agricultural companies.

Conte said a special Cabinet meeting could be in the coming days to deliberate aid for storm-ravaged communities, as well as to approve 1 billion euros ($1.15 billion) to ensure safe hydrogeological conditions in Italy, including proper cleaning of riverbeds.

In the same region, a 44-year-old man was also found dead in his vehicle near Vicari after he had tried to reach a trapped colleague in a service station.

While a man and a woman died in Agrigente after their auto was caught in flooding.

State TV also said two people were killed by the storm in the outskirts of Agrigento, a Sicilian tourist town famed for its ancient Greek temples.

The tragedy brings the number of people killed in Sicily this weekend to at least 12 after three other people died in their cars when hit by torrents of water.

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