Dozens of military homes aboard the Marinai housing complex near Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy, were flooded and lost power after a historic Mediterranean hurricane hit the island of Sicily late last month, officials confirmed Thursday.
All told, 23 inches of rain fell starting on Oct. 24, dumping a year’s worth of rain on the region in 48 hours, according to the Navy.
The storm flooded 67 Marinai homes, 61 of which were occupied, affecting more than 90 residents, according to Navy spokesman Lt. Drake Greer.
Affected residents were transported to emergency housing in the area, he said.
Some homes took on up to two-feet of water, damaging walls, appliances and personal property, Greer told Navy Times.
A survey of the 526 Marinai houses is ongoing, and the Navy is assisting residents with private insurance claims where possible.
As the storm raged, the base lost power and several pumps failed around the housing complex. The Navy’s public works department turned off the water treatment and wastewater facilities for a time to prevent water contamination, according to a Navy release.
During the power outage, Mariani residents grilled food for their neighbors and NAS Sigonella Installation Command Master Chief Anna Wood and her family hand-delivered meals via canoe, cleared debris and offered other assistance.
Power was restored to all units in the housing complex after about 36 hours, Greer said.
After power was restored, a water boil order went into effect, but after testing, no water contamination was found, Greer added.
The storm killed two people in the nearby city of Catania and left roads flooded and impassable for several days.
“I’ve lived through floods as a kid and it’s the worst thing ever, having to dig your life back out of them,” Capt. Kevin Pickard, the base commander, said in a statement. “While everyone was caught off guard by the strength of the storm…we are committed to ensuring we are better prepared in all ways for any future floods and protecting the people and property within our Sigonella community.”
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.