Flooding closes Italy Army post Caserme Ederle
Italian police assist residents in downtown Vicenza, near the U.S. Army community at Caserma Ederle. The Army gave the Italian military 5,200 sandbags to help in their relief efforts.

VICENZA, Italy (Nov. 4, 2010) -- Muddy water surged into homes and business, engulfed local bridges and roads and forced closures on Caserma Ederle and throughout the city of Vicenza and surrounding areas Nov. 1-3.

Caserma Ederle provided the Italian military with 1,200 sandbags Nov. 2 and an additional 4,000 Nov. 3. They will use them with relief efforts in and around the city.

The flooding was due to days of heavy rainfall according to Larry Kilgore, director, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. Caserma Ederle officials closed nearly all offices and services on the installation early Nov. 1 and for the entire day Nov. 2.

"The Prefect of Vicenza shut down the (city) schools because of the rivers flooding," Kilgore said. "The Crisis Management Team got together and came up with the decision to shut down the school and the post for safety reasons."

An estimated 80 percent of those who work on the installation either could not make it to their work place or it would have taken them between two to four hours to find alternate routes around flooding, according to the Crisis Management Team's Nov. 1 meeting notes.

The flooding impacted the Vicenza downtown area, Torri di Quartesolo and Longare greatly, according to Kilgore.

"Those areas were hit hard," he said.

Water also shut down sections of the Autostrada and tangenziale, and numerous bridges and outlying roads. The roads surrounding Caserma Ederle stayed fairly clear, with the exception of high water in isolated areas.

American residents shared their own flooding photos on the USAG Vicenza and AFN Vicenza Facebook pages. AFN reporters posted videos, including those taken with cell phones, to update community members.

Staff Sgt. Alejandro Briceno, AFN Vicenza, was out covering events.

"In one particular location, the water was over its banks on the west side of the river and surrounded an apartment building's first floor," Briceno said. "You could see a man in his second-floor window looking below at the water. The last time I saw anything like that was when I deployed in support of Hurricane Rita relief efforts."

Robert Burns, U.S. Army Africa, lives in downtown Vicenza and said four feet of water covered the entrance to his building and half of his car.

"I woke up and my power was off," Burns said. "Then I looked out the window and saw a river. It was surreal. As the water got higher and higher, I started to wonder what I would do if the levels continued to rise. The water was rushing as fast as the river. It was a little traumatic. The water was rushing so fast that I couldn't have gotten out if I wanted to."

Caserma Ederle community members headed to the homes of friends and co-workers, especially in the Torri area, to help families move furniture and clean up, Kilgore said. Other community members helped downtown business owners and residents to bail water out from businesses, homes and garages.

Kilgore said the Crisis and Consequence Management Teams performed well.

"This helped test our emergency abilities," Kilgore said. "For instance, emergency essential personnel who work at Longare were able to come to Caserma Ederle to work."

Throughout the closure, the shoppettes on Villaggio and main post, the Ederle Inn, the Benincaso Birthing Pavilion and the DFAC remained open. Emergency essential personnel still reported to the Caserma to keep services running.

More photos of flooding can be seen at page at <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/usarmyafrica">U.S. Army Africa's Flickr</a> page and
<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/US-Army-at-Vicenza-Italy/351353434588">USAG Vicenza's Facebook page</a>.

Page last updated Fri November 5th, 2010 at 04:02