In northern Italy, a helicopter crew is on a grim mission.

They head to the site of the fatal glacier collapse.

Their task is to find the location of the dead.

“If we see anything like pieces of equipment or clothing, I will take it,” says Riccardo Manfredi, one of the Guardia di Finanza’s search and rescue team.

on sunday a huge piece of glacier on Mount Marmalade has broken offcausing a landslide as it raced down the slope.

Experts say that 260,000 cubic meters of snow, rocks and ice fell at a speed of more than 300 km per hour. There was little warning; there is no escape.

At least 10 people have been confirmed dead.

“It’s not normal”

As the helicopter flies closer to the mountain, you can clearly see the hollowed-out place where the collapse occurred.

Warm winters with less snow and summer heat are believed to have melted the ice, making it unstable.

Guardia di Finanza search and rescue team

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the incident was “without a doubt” related to climate to change.

Rescuers also noticed a change in the environment.

“It is not normal that the temperature is so high – and we can see that the glacier has melted. The glacier will probably disappear in the next decade,” says Mr Manfredi.

A sharp increase in temperature has caused a state of emergency in five areas of northern Italy due to drought.

The water level has fallen by eight meters in some parts of Italy’s longest river, the Po.

Boats sunk during World War II are now visible in Po
Boats sunk during World War II are now visible in Po

In the town of Gualtieri in Emilia-Romagna, boats sunk during the Second World War are again clearly visible due to a sharp drop in the river level.

“I have never faced such a situation in my life. It’s so dramatic. We know very well what the lack of water means in this area. [for the economy]. I’ve never seen a situation like this,” local mayor Renzo Bergamini tells us.

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Climate change is associated with glacier retreat

But experts say the stormy summer is part of a wider trend.

“This kind of summer is what we expect with climate change. It’s a signal of climate change,” says Susanna Corti, director of research at Italy’s National Research Council.

“In the future, in different ways [scientific] in the scenarios, and particularly in the more extreme scenarios, where there is no mitigation in terms of CO2 emissions, that is exactly what we would expect to see.”

Parmigiano Reggiano in Italy
Parmigiano Reggiano in Italy

Even the world-famous Parmigiano Reggiano cheese was affected – the extreme heat is affecting milk supplies.

Farmer Luca Cotti from Parma says the drought has damaged the strictly regulated crops he needs to feed his cows.

High temperatures also stress the herd, reducing the amount of milk they produce.

Read more:
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Luca Cotti is a dairy farmer
Luca Cotti is a dairy farmer

“In the stalls, the high temperature leads to a decrease in the appetite of the animals, [causing a] a decrease in production and, in the long run, a decrease in the birth rate,” he explains.

“We have to survive. We are already designing air-conditioned stables to accommodate our business. Another decision called for by our organization “Coldiretti” is for the authorities to create reservoirs.

People have no choice here; they must adapt: ​​conserve water, change crops and withstand the heat as Italy bakes.

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