Europe

Scenes from Italy’s worst drought in 70 years

Italy is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years, affecting rice production, hydroelectric power and drinking-water supplies. River levels in the Po Basin, where a third of the country’s population lives, hit a record low after months of little rainfall.

Gabriele Pileri/Reuters

Extreme summer heat waves are exacerbating conditions and forcing authorities in some communities to restrict water use. Abnormally high temperatures destabilized a glacier on Marmolada Mountain in the Italian Alps, setting off an avalanche that killed at least seven people on Sunday.

Gabriele Pileri/Reuters

In the Italian Alps, a rescue helicopter flies over the Punta Rocca glacier that collapsed on Marmolada Mountain this week.

Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

Tiziana Fabi/AFP/Getty Images

After virtually no rain for four months, little water is left in this stretch of the Po River near Piacenza, Italy.

Pierpaolo Ferreri/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Pierpaolo Ferreri/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

A corn field in Crema, Italy, suffers under a hot summer sun.

Filippo Venezia/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Filippo Venezia/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Estimates project that the drought will wipe out more than 30 percent of the rice crops — a devastating loss for a country responsible for more than 50 percent of the European Union’s rice production. The Italian government declared a state of emergency in several of the affected regions, which will receive relief funds.

Filippo Venezia/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Farmer Andrea Bandiera checks his corn plants in Cocomaro di Focomorto, Italy, in late June.

Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters

The Po River's dried bed on Tuesday.

Andrea Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images

Andrea Pattaro/AFP/Getty Images

Farmer Giuseppe Ubertone drives equipment on a drought-stricken field in Casalbuttano in Milan on Monday.

Andrea Fasani/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Andrea Fasani/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Smoke rises from burning vegetation near the Vatican after a fire broke out in Rome on Monday.

Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images

Residents collect water at a fountain in Levo, northwest of Milan, in mid-June.

Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images

Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images

Drought and extreme-heat events in the Mediterranean have intensified in recent decades as global temperatures have risen. The region’s surface temperature is about 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels.

Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images

A recent study found that drought days in the Mediterranean could make up more than 50 percent of the dry season by 2065 if greenhouse gas emissions are not significantly curbed.

Piero Cruciatti/AFP/Getty Images

Bicycles emerge from the Tiber River bed in Rome.

Bloomberg News

Bloomberg News

Fields have failed to flower amid the heat wave in Castelluccio di Norcia, in Umbria.

Cesare Abbate/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Cesare Abbate/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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Photo editing by Chloe Coleman