Italy declared a flood emergency in the northwest after torrential rainfall caused floods and landslides and killed at least three people.

Guido Bertolaso, the head of Italy's Civil Protection Service told reporters after an emergency meeting in Turin, "We are still in the middle of a crisis and will be so for the next 24 hours". The emergency was called as the river Po reached dangerously high levels.

The Po, which is Italy's longest river, flowing across the north of the country and its offshoot the Dora remain at serious risk of further flooding, the Civil Protection Service said.

The Turin region of Piedmont and the mountainous Val d'Aosta were put under a "state of emergency" by the government, Reuters reported.

Elsewhere, the heavy rainfall led to a landslide in an Alpine village near the French border where witnesses said they had seen a five-meter high wall of mud surrounding a house.

The reason for the flooding has been blamed on too much construction according to the environmental group WWF Italia.

The WWF Italy is the largest association of Italian environmentalists and is part of WWF which is the World Wide Fund for Nature. It is the largest worldwide organization dedicated to nature conservation.