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Italy approves $2.2 billion relief package for flood-hit areas

FILE PHOTO: Aftermath of deadly floods in northern Italy

ROME (Reuters) -Italy approved an emergency relief package worth more than 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to help flood-hit areas in the northern region of Emilia-Romagna, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Tuesday.

Almost a week on from the disaster, about 23,000 people are still homeless and some cities remain flooded, while thousands of acres of particularly fertile farmland have been wrecked.

Meloni, who visited the region on Sunday after returning a day early from a G7 summit in Japan, convened a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to approve the measures.

The package includes emergency-related spending and moratoriums on tax and social contributions for affected households and firms, Meloni said after the cabinet meeting.

Among the raft of measures, the government announced a 1-euro increase for entrance tickets to Italian state museums from June 15-Sept. 15, saying the proceeds would be used to safeguard cultural artefacts in the flood zone.

Emilia-Romagna governor Stefano Bonaccini announced that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen would visit his region on Thursday.

($1 = 0.9084 euros)

(Reporting by Giuseppe Fonte, editing by Alex Richardson and Crispian Balmer)