At least seven killed in landslides on Italy’s Ischia island

Casamicciola Terme, Italy — At least seven people, including a newborn and two children, have died after torrential rains devastated a small town on the southern Italian holiday island of Ischia, officials said Sunday. .

Naples governor Claudio Palomba told a news conference that five people are still missing. Dozens of emergency workers rushed to the island while rescue divers searched the waters off the coast, he said.

A wave of mud, debris and stones broke away from the island’s highest peak on Saturday and crashed into houses and roads in and around the town of Casamicciola Terme.

Photos and aerial video show buildings destroyed by landslides and several cars pushed out to sea by what one resident described as “a waterfall of water and mud.”

Landslide - Ischia
A wrecked car was photographed in Casamicciola, southern Ischia, Italy, which triggered a landslide on November 26, 2022. (ANSA/Ansa/AFP via Getty Images)

heavy rain

Densely populated Ischia is a volcanic island about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from Naples. It draws visitors to its hot springs and picturesque coastline.

Statistics show that Ischia has a large number of illegally built homes that put residents at risk of floods and earthquakes, a frequent occurrence over the past few years on the hilly island.

The deadly landslide has reignited a political debate over amnesties for illegal buildings granted in recent decades and the reluctance of some politicians to address the issue.

Campania governor Vincenzo de Luca told state broadcaster RAI on Sunday: “People need to understand that some areas cannot be lived in and buildings in dangerous areas must be demolished. I have.

Italy’s new government, led by Giorgia Meloni, held a cabinet meeting on Sunday to issue a decree aimed at providing quick aid to those in need after the disaster, including some 230 displaced people.

The order specified an initial aid package of €2 million ($2.08 million) and envisaged a suspension of tax payments to residents until the end of the year.

($1 = 0.9622 Euro)