First funerals in Sardinia as island mourns flood victims

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The first funerals are taking place on Wednesday of those killed by a cyclone and severe flooding on Sardinia.

The holiday island, usually known for its white sand beaches, has been turned into a mud-bath after as much rain fell in a day as normally falls in several months.

The storm killed at least 16 people. One person was reported missing, and by last night 1,700 were in alternative shelters after being forced to leave their homes.

Hospitals have been treating the dozens who were injured, of whom three were said to be in a serious condition.

The worst-hit town of Olbia in the Mediterranean island’s north-east declared a day of mourning and prayer as it prepared for the funerals of six victims.

It is feared the death toll may rise as emergency crews reach remote parts of the countryside.

The authorities said all roads should be open and communication systems working during the day on Wednesday.

Rain continued to fall overnight but without causing new damage.

Sardinia’s civil protection agency has defended itself over what it calls unfounded criticism, saying the storm was forecast in time and evacuation procedures were followed correctly.