Cyclone Cleopatra kills 18 in Sardinia (VIDEO)


The city of Olbia on the island of Sardinia.

At least 18 people were killed when Cyclone Cleopatra swept over Sardinia early on Tuesday, after the powerful storm brought six months of rainfall to the Italian island in a mere twelve hours. 

Four children were among the dead, according to the BBC. The victims included a Brazilian family of four who drowned in their basement, three people killed in a bridge collapse and a police officer who died when his car was swept away as he escorted an ambulance. 

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The worst storm in decades, Cyclone Cleopatra hit the Mediterranean island hardest in the north, destroying bridges, flooding roads and displacing hundreds of residents. 

Enrico Letta, the prime minister of Italy, declared a state of emergency in Sardinia in a cabinet meeting and said the government would send $27 million in immediate aid, according to CNN. 

He then flew to the island to meet with rescuers and remind Sardinians that the "state is present," according to the New York Times, adding that he "came to speak with the mayors" to assess their recovery needs. 

A statement from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano expressed solidarity with the families affected by the disaster, according to a government website. 

Here is BBC video of the damage: