While Venice made headlines around the world this week, with the Italian government declaring a state of emergency, the southern Italian city of Matera was also devastated by wild weather but received far less attention from the media.

Matera’s historic centre and Sassi district was battered by heavy rain which sent waves of mud gushing through its streets in recent days, causing widespread damage to businesses and homes.
The local council has now approved a resolution calling for the declaration of a state of emergency “due to the exceptional atmospheric event. Mayor Raffaello De Ruggieri estimated the financial cost of the damage at €8 million.
The declaration of €20 million in state funding for Venice, combined with global media coverage and international funding campaigns, has led to much discussion on social media of a “north-south divide” in Italy.
The controversial topic has drawn in Italy’s foreign minister and leader of the populist Luigi Di Maio, who posted on Facebook: “Other cities and regions have been overwhelmed by bad weather. I think of Basilicata with Matera, the European capital of culture, I think of Puglia, Calabria, Sicily. And nobody talks about it.”

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