Housing hit by rare Mediterranean hurricane at Naval Air Station Sigonella

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Dozens of military homes aboard the Marinai residential complex near Naval Air Station Sigonella, Italy were flooded and lost power after a historic Mediterranean hurricane hit the island of Sicily at the end of the last month, officials confirmed Thursday.

A total of 23 inches of rain fell from Oct. 24, pouring a year of rain over the region in 48 hours, according to the Navy.

The storm inundated 67 Marinai homes, of which 61 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 have accumulated up to two feet of water, damaging walls, appliances and personal property, Greer told the Navy Times.

An investigation of the 526 Marinai homes is underway and the Navy is helping residents make 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 has shut down water and wastewater treatment facilities for a time to prevent water contamination, according to a Navy statement.

During the power outage, residents of Mariani grilled food for their neighbors and NAS Sigonella’s installation command chief Anna Wood and her family delivered meals by hand in a canoe, cleaned up debris and offered other help.

Power was restored to all units in the building complex after about 36 hours, Greer said.

After the power was restored, a boil water order went into effect, but after testing, no water contamination was found, Greer added.

The storm killed two people in the nearby town of Catania and left the roads flooded and impassable for several days.

“I experienced flooding as a child and it is the worst thing I have ever experienced, having to draw your life from it,” Base Commander Captain Kevin Pickard said in a statement. “While everyone has been caught off guard by the force of the storm… we are committed to ensuring that we are better prepared in all respects for future floods and to protecting people and property within our community from Sigonella. “

Geoff is a senior Navy reporter for the Military Times. He has covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was recently a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes all kinds of advice at [email protected]


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