Italy floods kill four as storm hits village festival

Overnight torrential rain also claimed a life in Bulgaria

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The Independent Online

At least four men have been killed after a flash flood swept through a village festival in Italy.

As many as 20 people are thought to have also been injured when a severe thunderstorm struck the town of Refrontolo, some 40 miles north of Venice, on Saturday evening.

The storm created a torrent of water and mud that swept away cars and knocked down trees in the Veneto region, according to the Associated Press.

It is understood the men died after they were swept into a nearby river. The Daily Mail reported around 200 people had taken shelter under a tent when the storm hit without warning.

Mirco Lorenzon, Head of Civil Protection in the area, told the Mail it was “a surreal and terrifying scene”.

“A sea of mud engulfed everything,” he added. “Many were saved only because they clung to tree trunks and branches to avoid being dragged away.”

Veneto regional governor Luca Zaia called the storm “an authentic tragedy” while Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano expressed his sorrow for the victims.

In Bulgaria, rescue teams were hard at work to evacuate more than 500 people from the small town of Mizia after torrential rains caused flooding, killing one man in his home.

According to Reuters, more than 50 houses have collapsed after the Skut River, which runs through the town, burst its banks.

So far this summer, floods have killed more than 15 people in Bulgaria and Romania.