At least eight people are dead following a landslide on the Italian holiday island of Ischia, authorities have confirmed. Meanwhile, 13 people have been reported as missing, including a family consisting of a husband, wife and a newborn baby. The family, and another 25-year-old, were in two of the houses that were completely engulfed by the landslide. Horrifying images show dozens of cars and houses being overwhelmed by a large mass of water, mud and debris. The landslide according in the early hours of the morning, following a heavy rainstorm that caused flooding.
Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport said: “There are eight confirmed dead from the landslide in Ischia”, adding “There are rescuers who work in difficult conditions”, according to ANSA news agency reports.
There are about 100 people on the island who have not been reached as the landslide has blocked the roads leading to their homes with mud, boulders and debris.
Meanwhile, authorities are trying to clear the path using various earth-moving machines and water pumps.
In a statement, the mayor of Lacco Ameno, Giacomo Pascale said: “There are 20-30 isolated families and a dozen collapsed buildings”.
Earlier this morning, the Italian fire brigade tweeted that a rainstorm which started at 04.00am had caused flooding and landslides on the island.
However, the emergency service also mentioned that due to bad weather, they were facing difficulties reaching the island with motorboats and helicopters.
Speaking to Sky TG24, Gianni Capuano, an official of Italy’s Civil Protection said that a young child was among those missing, adding that families in danger were being evacuated.
The Italian fire bridge tweeted: “In Casamicciola a landslide overwhelmed a house, searches are underway for possible missing persons, while a car was dragged into the sea, the 2 occupants being saved. Reinforcements sent from Naples.”
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Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was in close contact with the Civil Protection minister Nello Musumeci, the Civil Protection Department and the Campania Region “to follow the evolution of the wave of bad weather that has hit Ischia”.
She said: “The government expresses its closeness to the citizens and mayors of the municipalities on the island of Ischia and thanks the rescuers engaged in the search for the missing”.
ANSA noted that five people have been reported missing in Casamicciola, while a family of four, including two children, living upstream of Piazza Maio, are also missing.
The Minister for Civil Protection and Sea Policies Nello Musumeci said: “There are difficulties operating on a reported building”, highlighting the struggles faced by the rescue teams in some of the areas affected by the landslide.
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He said: “The rescue machine has started up and is operating in the conditions permitted by the difficult weather situation”.
Meanwhile, some people inside the Hotel Terme Manzi in Casamicciola were also stuck inside without electricity. However, emergency authorities are arriving at the scene.
Don Gino Ballirano, parish priest of the church of Santa Maria Maddalena, in Casamicciola told ANSA: “I’m trying to call some people who may be missing but unfortunately I haven’t received an answer at the moment.
“I’m trying to get there but the road below my house is blocked by a wall of cars and trees.”