ROME, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Days of unrelenting rains and mudslides in Italy's central and northern regions caused massive damage to agriculture and industries, local officials said on Wednesday.
In Rome, muddy water of Tiber river touched the maximum 13.5-meter point, uprooting moorings and sending boats adrift, and risking to overflow banks.
A barge near Milvian Bridge, one of the many bridges crossing the Tiber and dating back to ancient Roman times, broke into pieces as rushing water and heavy debris slammed into it.
Several streets outside the city center which had been flooded during the night remained blocked on Wednesday, hampering traffic.
Environment Minister Corrado Clini called for more funding to shore up defenses in places at risk of floods and other natural disasters.
Italians have to start taking more responsibility including respecting building rules and not constructing in places at hydrogeological risk, some 50 percent of the country, the civil protection head Franco Gabrielli said.
Echoing the words of local experts, he said there are many areas of Italy "whose fragility is very well-known and where people built where they should not have built."
The bout of bad weather since the weekend claimed four lives, caused massive damage and evacuations, prompting the country's civil protection and army to carry out emergency action.
"The situation is dramatic. Entire villages have been submerged by floods that have destroyed local agriculture and businesses," said Enrico Rossi, the president of mostly hit Tuscany region in central Italy.
"I do not own anything anymore, I have lost my warehouse and machinery worth some 1.5 million euros (1.9 million U.S. dollars)," an entrepreneur in nearby Umbria region was quoted as saying by state Rai television.
Damage to the Italian countryside amid heavy rains will cost more than 500 million euros (636 million U.S. dollars) to repair, according to the national agriculture confederation (CIA).
The storms and mudslides have wreaked havoc on agriculture, especially on wine and olive-oil production, where pickers have been called off the job and heavy machinery has suffered severe loss, it said.