Ischia mudslide: Death toll climbs as rescuers search for missing people

The Italian government declared a state of emergency in Ischia on Sunday, one day after a deadly mudslide swept across the island near Naples.

Local authorities said late on Sunday evening the official death toll had risen to seven, with five people still missing.

Search teams pulled the young girl’s body from her family’s home as they dug through dirt for a second day. Earlier, rescuers found the body of a 31-year-old woman, Naples prefect Claudio Palomba said. The Italian press also reported that 13 people were injured.

Some people who were initially reported missing were eventually found safe, including a family with a newborn, the prefect of Naples said.

A wave of mud and debris caused by heavy rains devastated the small town of Casamicciola Terme in the north of the island near Naples early Saturday morning.

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The search was hampered by persistent rain and strong winds, which also delayed the arrival of reinforcements by ferry from the mainland.

More than 200 emergency workers joined the search for the missing, and hundreds of volunteers lined the streets of the small town knee-deep.

The remains of cars and buses can be seen everywhere, crushed by heavy mudslides and rockfalls as excavators try to clear access to houses, cars and shops.

The extraordinary meeting of the Government held on Sunday also agreed on the first 2 million.

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Saturday’s landslide sent mudslides down streets, uprooting trees and carrying and wrecking vehicles, sometimes into the sea. The house was also “buried” and two people were rescued from a car that plunged into the sea, the fire service said.

Rescue services planned to evacuate 150 to 200 people to temporary accommodation, while local authorities urged islanders to stay in their homes to avoid hampering rescue operations.

Some experts questioned the high level of urbanization and the lack of planning constraints.

“In Ischia there is an urbanization that has hit and devastated the whole area,” Tommaso Moramarco, director of the Research and Hydrogeological Protection Institute, told the AGI news agency.

“When the island entered the period of mass tourism, the growth of the infrastructure was exponential, suffocating all the natural elements of the territory and covering everything with cement,” condemned geologist Mario Tozzi in La Stampa, recalling the existence of tens of thousands of abuses. construction in Ischia.

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Casamicciola Terme, a winter resort of 8,000 people on the lush island of Ischia near Capri, was hit by an earthquake in 2017 that killed two people. However, at the end of the 19th century, it was completely destroyed by a much more powerful earthquake.

Saturday’s disaster comes just weeks after 11 people were killed in floods caused by heavy rains in eastern and central Italy.

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