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Italy's Meloni to leave Japan G7 a day early to tackle floods crisis at home

HIROSHIMA/ROME (Reuters) -Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Saturday she would leave the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Hiroshima a day earlier than scheduled to lead the response to flooding which hit the north of her country this week.

Torrential rains devastated eastern parts of the Emilia-Romagna region, killing 14 people, causing billions of euros worth of damage and hitting agriculture particularly hard.

Around 36,000 people were forced to leave their homes, and many of those who remained in flooded areas were left without electricity.

The Italian government will hold a cabinet meeting on Tuesday to decide on measures to help people to cope with the emergency.

"I have decided to come back to Italy. Frankly, I can't stay so far away from Italy at such a difficult time. After two days and more away, my conscience requires me to come back," she told a press briefing, adding that she had informed the other G7 leaders.

Earlier in the day, Meloni thanked the G7 leaders and everyone from other countries who had expressed solidarity with Italy and those affected by the flooding.

"Your closeness is a tangible sign of our cohesion in difficult times. Thank you," she said in a tweet.

Meloni, who described the Japan meeting as a success, said G7 leaders had so far discussed the war in Ukraine, economic security and supply chains, and relations with the Global South.

Many of these topics will be discussed at next year's G7 meeting, to be chaired by Italy in June in the southern region of Puglia.

(Reporting by Katya Golubkova, Angelo Amante and Gianluca Semeraro, editing by Gavin Jones and Giles Elgood)