Italy declares state of emergency in Ischia following devastating landslide

© Salvatore Laporta, AP

Italy declared a state of emergency on the southern island of Ischia on Sunday after a landslide killed at least seven people and left several others missing.

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.

"The toll of victims from the landslide in Casamicciola has risen to seven dead, while five are missing," Naples city prefect Claudio Palomba announced late Sunday.

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 had earlier reported that four bodies had been found by Sunday afternoon.

More than 200 rescuers were still searching for 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, told AFP.

"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.

(AFP)


Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
EU ministers endorse new migrant plan after France-Italy tensions
Chad declares state of emergency as flooding affects over a million people
UN holds emergency session on Gaza as fragile truce holds