The Italian government has declared a state of emergency across five northern regions in the country as it battles the worst drought in 70 years.

Iran PressEurope: Italy’s Po River, a vital source of water for drinking, agriculture and energy production in northern Italy, is suffering its worst drought in 70 years.

Italy declared a state of emergency in five northern regions and announced emergency funds on Monday over a worsening drought that has plagued the Po Valley in recent weeks.

The cabinet approved a state of emergency in five regions - Friuli-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto - until December 31, the government said in a statement that also announced a 36.5 million-euro ($39.5 million) fund to help those affected.

Italy is facing an unusually early heatwave and a lack of rainfall, particularly in the northern agricultural Po Valley, which has been hit by its worst drought in 70 years.

In some areas, the Po River, normally a wide stretch of murky water, has become a beach. Curious residents wander along the expanse of sand now exposed after the water reached critically low levels. 219

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