CASAMICCIOLA TERME: Italian rescuers were searching for missing people on the southern island of Ischia on Sunday after a landslide killed at least seven and the government declared a state of emergency.
A wave of mud and debris crashed through the small town of Casamicciola Terme on Saturday morning, engulfing at least one house and sweeping cars down to the sea, local media and emergency services said.
A first tranche of two million euros ($2 million) of relief funds was released at the end of an emergency cabinet meeting which declared the state of emergency, said Minister for Civil Protection Nello Musumeci.
Italian media reported that four bodies had been found by Sunday afternoon, with an official toll to be provided in the evening by the prefect of Naples Claudio Palomba.Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi had earlier warned there were people trapped in the mud, saying it was a “very serious” situation.
Complicated rescue mission
More than 200 rescuers were still searching for around 10 missing people, while hundreds of volunteers, up to their knees in mud, were busy cleaning the town’s streets. The rescue effort had been hampered by rain and high winds, which also delayed ferries bringing reinforcements from the mainland.
“It’s a situation that hurts us, if only for the people who disappeared under the mountain. Here it’s an island and even if we don’t really know everyone, it’s almost that,” Salvatore Lorini, 45, said.
“The mountain came down, there was devastation of shops, cars, hotels and that was already happening nine years ago. Now I am cleaning my mother-in-law’s shop,” he said.
Heavy rain sent torrents of mud through the streets of Casamicciola Terme, a spa resort of 8,000 inhabitants on the north of Ischia, a lush island near Capri that is thronged with tourists in summer.
Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2022