At least 13 people are believed to be missing after heavy rains caused landslides on the Italian island of Ischia, destroying homes and cars, according to videos posted to social media.
The Italian fire service said rescue workers with reinforcements from Naples were sent to work in the small town of Casamicciola, CNN reported on Saturday. However, Italy’s Civil Protection Ministry said weather conditions are making it difficult for rescuers to find people.
Video posted by Sky News showed damaged roads, houses destroyed after being swept away and cars submerged in mud. Heavy rainstorms and flooding caused multiple landslides in the town of Casamicciola Terme, 20 miles off the coast of Naples.
Authorities said some of the buildings were damaged and residents were cut off from the island. Meanwhile, Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Twitter that she is in contact with the civil protection authority in order to solve the situation with the local authorities.
“I am in contact with Minister Musumeci, the @DPCgov and the Campania Region to follow the evolution of the wave of bad weather that has hit Ischia. The government expresses its closeness to the citizens and the island’s mayors and thanks the rescuers who intervened in the search for the missing,” she said, according to a translation of her tweet.
In addition, Ischia Mayor Enzo Ferrandino described the situation as a “tragedy” and urged residents to stay at home, CNN reported, citing ANSA news agency.
According to the BBC, there were some fears that some people may have died as a result of the landslides, as a woman’s body was reportedly found under the mud.
Italian officials believe people could be trapped under the mud after up to 155 millimeters (6 inches) of rain fell in six hours. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi described the situation as “very complicated”.
There were initial reports from Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini that eight people had died in the landslide, but the Interior Minister said no deaths had yet been confirmed.
Lisa Mocciaro, one of the residents of the island, told the ANSA news agency: “We started hearing loud thunder around 03:00 [local time], then came the first landslide, followed by a second at around 05:00. It was horrific.”
The Campania region, which surrounds Naples and Ischia, has been experiencing heavy rains for several days, according to the BBC.
The bad weather resulted in two deaths in the area. The victims included a man struck by lightning on the beach and an Argentine tourist who drowned after being washed into the sea during a coastal storm. A weather warning for strong winds and rain is in effect until Sunday.
Last year, a landslide on the Italian coast near Genoa destroyed a cemetery, causing hundreds of coffins to fall into the sea, according to CNN.
A magnitude 3.6 earthquake was recorded earlier this year at the Campi Flegrei supervolcano, located about 9 miles from Naples. The area has one of the most densely populated active volcanoes in the world, with more than 2.2 million people living nearly 3 miles from the site.
news week has asked the Italian Ministry of Civil Protection for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/ischia-landslide-deaths-feared-videos-show-devastation-italy-1762497 Deaths feared as videos show devastation in Italy