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Air force aids snow-stricken Ticino villages

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Air force aids snow-stricken Ticino villages
Ticino village of Bosco Gurin on Friday morning. Photo: RSI/Webcam
22:35 CET+01:00
The Swiss Air Force provided aid on Thursday to communities in the canton of Ticino that have been cut off following heavy snowfall in the southernmost Swiss region.

The armed forces organized flights from Locarno to provide provisions at the request of the canton to stricken areas.

A Super Puma helicopter transported 16 tonnes of hay for 60 cows otherwise without fodder in Sant’Antonio in the Valle di Peccia, the federal department of defence said.

A road into the valley has been blocked for several days by an avalanche, leaving several hundred people isolated.

“We hope to be able to open a gap to at least ensure a passage in case of an emergency,” Peccia Mayor Michel Rotanzi told the Corrriere del Ticino newspaper.

Two other Super Pumas and a Eurocopter EC635 are on standby for other emergency help in other Alpine areas, the defence department said.

The heavy snow has raised the risk of avalanches in much of Ticino, the government said.

The risk of an avalanche at the Campo Blenio ski resort forced the postponement of a giant slalom race planned for Friday, involving 15 MPs from the Ticino cantonal parliament.

The weather cleared on Thursday, but MeteoSwiss, the national weather office, said more snow is expected on Friday at higher elevations in the canton.

Five to 10 centimetres of the white stuff was forecast for the valleys in the northern part of Ticino, with more in the Alps.

Meanwhile, MeteoSwiss issued a code 3 warning of high winds up to 110 kilometres an hour in the Jura Mountains and part of the Alps extending from Wengen in the Bernese Oberland to Liechtenstein.

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