A Brazilian family of four drowned when their home on the island of Sardinia, Italy flooded due to heavy rains caused by Cyclone Cleopatra. The family, which included parents, and their two children ages 16 and 20 were killed when their ground floor apartment in the town of Arzachena filled with flood water. It is believed at least 16 people lost their lives as a result of Cleopatra. The Italian government has declared a state of emergence and Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta called the 16 deaths a "national tragedy."

"At this point, the priority is saving lives and helping those who have been evacuated," Letta said over Italian radio. "Unfortunately we're talking about a lot of people. The deaths have also risen to a terrible number." The Italian government said that Cleopatra brought about six months worth of rain in only a 24-hour period. Along with those who have lost their lives many people have been reported missing. As the rainwater fell rivers swelled over their banks, cars were swept away in the flood and bridges collapsed.

Letta said that there would be 20 million Euros or $27 million allocated to fund disaster relief in the area. Soldiers will also be placed in the region to help with evacuation as well as search and rescue. "We are focusing on essential operations: saving human lives, assisting displaced people and clearing road access," Letta said during an emergency cabinet meeting on Tuesday BBC is reporting. From Monday night, spilling into Tuesday morning over 17.3 inches of rain fell in a 90-minuet period.

Franco Gabrielli, Italy's civilian protection chief believes the death toll may rise as rescuers reach the region where more homes are still submerged. Mudslides made transportation difficult as they blocked roads and took out bridges. The slides also forced several tunnels to close including one that leads into the city of Olbia. Mayor of Olbia Gianni Giovannelli called the cyclone that destroyed parts of his city "apocalyptic". Water levels rose to 10 feet in some places. Giovannelli described the storm's fierceness as a "water bomb."

Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. It attracts thousands of tourists each year including royals, celebrities and regular people alike. Rome and Venice were also hit with heavy rains as a result of the cyclone. Residents in Venice wore rubber boots as water from the lagoons surrounding the city rose and submerged the city.

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