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A woman dies and 10 people missing after landslide on Italian island of Ischia

The Guardian
The Guardian
 2022-11-26
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A woman has died and 10 people are missing after a severe storm triggered a landslide on the Italian island of Ischia.

The island, in the Gulf of Naples, was engulfed by heavy rain overnight, with the landslide hitting the hamlet of Casamicciola Terme early on Saturday morning, flooding homes and sweeping away several cars.

The deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, had earlier said that eight people had died. But by Saturday evening there was one confirmed death with 10 people still missing.

The first victim was confirmed to be a woman whose body was found by rescuers, according to a media briefing by the prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba.

He said some of those reported missing earlier were later found safe, including one family with a newborn baby, but about 10 other people were still unaccounted for by mid-afternoon.

The rescue effort was hampered by continued rain and high winds, which also delayed ferries bringing reinforcements from the mainland.

The interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, had earlier warned there were people trapped in the mud, saying it was a “very serious” situation.

A 60-year-old man was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Electricity has been cut off in the affected area and about 30 families have been stranded in their homes in the hamlet of Lacco Ameno, where several buildings are reported to have collapsed.

“It’s a complicated situation, houses have been uprooted by the landslide,” police chief Tiziano Laganà told La Repubblica.

Gino Ballirano, a parish priest at Santa Maria Maddalena church in Casamicciola Terme, told the Ansa news agency: “I’m calling people who may be missing, but unfortunately I have not yet received an answer. I’m trying to get there but the road beneath my house is blocked by a wall of cars and trees.”

The mayor of Ischia, Enzo Ferrandino, has urged residents to stay at home.

Known for its natural hot springs, Ischia has a population of about 20,000 and is popular with Italian and foreign tourists. Ferries to and from the island have been suspended.

“It’s a tragedy, the number of missing people in Casamicciola is still uncertain,” said Ferrandino earlier on Saturday. “Due to bad weather on the island of Ischia we also have situations in other areas, such as flooding, but fortunately not particularly serious.”

In 2017, Casamicciola was struck by an earthquake in which 42 people were injured. A landslide in the hamlet in 2009 killed a 14-year-old girl.

Much of Italy has been hit by heavy rain over the past week. In September, 13 people were killed by severe flooding in the central Marche region.

The text and headline of this article were amended on 26 November 2022. An earlier version stated that at least eight people were dead. This has been corrected, in the light of updated information received.

AFP contributed to this report

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