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Killer floods sweep across Italy

At least nine people were killed and six others are missing after flash floods triggered by torrential rain which lashed Italy from the Alps in the north to Sicily in the south, authorities said.

The storm, which began late on Tuesday, spared few areas but the north-western coastal region of Liguria and the central region of Tuscany were the hardest hit.

Six of the victims were in Borghetto Vara, a village in Liguria known for its grapes, wines and chestnuts. Floodwater and mud tore through the village, 45 miles from Genoa and near the Cinque Terre, a popular vacation area. At least one building collapsed.

Another victim died while trying to clear gutters in the north-western coastal town of Monterosso, built around a small natural gulf.

Two others were killed in Aulla in the nearby province of Massa Carrara, famed for its marble.

The head of La Spezia's provincial government, Marino Fiasella, told Sky TV24 that at least six other people were missing.

Floods swept away some roads and bridges, and several towns in Liguria remained cut off from the outside world. Authorities said major roads and the railway in Liguria would remain closed at least until Sunday.

Rome was under a flood alert but the storm caused little damage in the capital. A truck overturned in the storm, blocking the key Rome-Naples superhighway for three hours.

The Defence Minister said the military was being readied to help search for the missing and Italian news reports said up to 100 soldiers and two helicopters would take part.

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