Yuki Tsunoda described his “scary” experience after being caught in Faenza as it was ravaged by flood waters last week.
The Scuderia AlphaTauri driver lives in town, located about 15km from Imola within the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.
“I think everyone was excited about the Imola grand prix, especially for our home grand prix,” said Tsunoda.
“All the Faenza and Imola people were excited but at the same time we had a massive storm overnight, well, I would say consistently for three days and most of the town where I live in Faenza was just completely flooded. Just mud everywhere, covered by mud, 70 percent, or more than that probably
Around Faenza, water levels rose several metres, sweeping away cars and destroying homes.
Once conditions eased, images of Tsunoda circulated on social media as he, along with thousands of others, helped in the clean-up effort.
Piles of furniture, electrical goods, and other possessions ruined by the muddy floodwaters lined the streets.
Last week’s flooding was a result of the second heavy downpour this month.
“As much as 7-8 times the reference climatological average for the same month,” according to analysis conducted by the CIMA Research Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that focuses on disaster risk mitigation.
“I was just staying safe in the night when the rain was coming,” Tsunoda said of his experience.
“I was worried because consistently the electricity got shut down in my house.
“So I was a bit worried, but luckily my house was bay.
“A day after when I went to town it was just completely mud everywhere.
“Ground floor properties were already covered by mud and water.
“It’s really been a huge impact on us and yeah, it was really terrible, terrible nights.”
More than 31,000 people were displaced by the floods while at least 14 people are understood to have perished.
“I saw it only maybe on TV and never expected the things like that, that horrible things will actually happen in front of me,” Tsunoda said when asked if he’d ever seen anything like it.
“But suddenly it happened in front of me, just this completely different feeling to what I was watching TV, just so scared.
“Just consistently having to worry about, like, the ground floor.
“Luckily, I have the second floor so I was staying on the second floor all the time.
“Helicopters were also flying around and I could tell that they were already starting to help the people from the houses already got [flooded].
“Just consistently knowing it was happening around, it’s very scary.”
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