Italy: a landslide on the island of Ischia leaves one dead and a dozen missing
Steph Deschamps / November 27, 2022
At least 30 families are trapped in their homes by the mud, without water or electricity.
A woman died and a dozen people were missing Saturday after a landslide caused by heavy rains on the Italian island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples. In the early morning, a wave of mud and debris devastated the small town of Casamicciola Terme, in the north of the island, submerging at least one house and washing cars out to sea, according to Italian media and emergency services.
The first victim is a woman whose body was found by rescuers, announced the Prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, at a press conference. Some of the people initially reported missing were later found safe, including a family with a newborn baby, said the prefect. But there was still no news of a dozen people in mid-afternoon, according to Palomba.
Casamicciola Terme, a winter resort of 8,000 inhabitants on the lush island of Ischia, near Capri, had suffered an earthquake in 2017 that killed two people. It had, on the other hand, been completely destroyed by a much more powerful earthquake in the late 19th century.
The landslide sent torrents of mud down the streets that knocked down trees and swept and dented vehicles on them, sometimes into the sea, according to images from the emergency services and local media. It "buried a house" and two people were rescued from a car that was rushed into the sea, the fire department said.
At least 30 families are trapped in their homes by the mud, without water or electricity, the ANSA news agency said, adding that the road to their neighborhood was cut off by the mudslide and debris. Emergency services explained afterwards that they hoped to evacuate 150 to 200 people by Saturday evening to temporary accommodation. "Rescue operations remain complicated due to weather conditions," according to the civil defense department, but the search will continue throughout the night using searchlights.
Local authorities have called on the island's residents to stay in their homes, so as not to interfere with rescue operations.