Italian rescuers have recovered the body of a 31-year-old woman following a deadly landslide in Ischia island near Naples, triggering massive rescue operations to find a dozen people who are still missing. It was initially believed eight people were killed but that number has now been revised to one confirmed death so far.
On early Saturday (November 26), a wave of mud and debris swept through the small town of Casamicciola Terme, engulfing at least one house and sweeping cars down to the sea. The incident has also injured at least 13 people and displaced hundreds of people.
However, some people who had earlier been reported missing have since been found safe, including one family with a newborn, according to local official Claudio Palomba, but rescue operations remain in place to find those still unaccounted for. Prime Minister Giorgia Melona expressed her sympathy to those affected, saying an extraordinary cabinet meeting will be called on Sunday to discuss the disaster.
Luca Cari, a spokesman for the fire service told Al Jazeera, the current death toll remains at one. He said: “We are afraid that there might be other victims, but so far the current figure is one dead.” The rescue effort was hampered by rain and high winds, which also delayed ferries bringing reinforcements from the mainland.
Prior to the landslide, heavy rain flooded the streets of Casamicciola Terme, a town in the north of Ischia, near Capri which is popular with tourists in the summer. The fire department said one house had been engulfed by mud and that two individuals had been rescued from a car that had been swept into the sea.
Meanwhile, the ANSA news agency said at least 30 families were stranded in their homes in the town’s worst-affected region, with mud and debris blocking the route. Officials stated 150 to 200 people would be evacuated and placed in temporary housing.
The civil protection department stated the rescue mission remains challenging owing to weather conditions, but that its teams would continue to work through the night.
Residents of Ischia were also asked to stay inside to prevent obstructing rescues. The devastation on Ischia comes only weeks after 11 people were killed in the central Italian region of Marche due to heavy rain and flooding.