On the southern Italian holiday island of Ischia, 11 people went missing on Sunday, a day after a landslide caused by torrential rain devastated a small town.
Rescue divers were searching the waters off the port of Casamicciola Terme on Saturday, after a wave of mud, debris, and stones broke away from the island’s highest mountain and crashed over houses and roads, killing at least one person.
Several cars were pushed into the sea. Aerial video shots showed several buildings smashed by the landslide, which engulfed the town. One resident described seeing “a waterfall of water and mud”.
The prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, said on Sunday the death toll was still one but 11 people were missing, adding that improved weather conditions should help search efforts.
Densely populated, Ischia is a volcanic island which lies some 30 km (19 miles) from Naples. It draws visitors to its thermal baths and picturesque coastline.
Two families, including some children, were believed to be among the missing, according to local officials.
Italy’s new government led by Giorgia Meloni held a cabinet meeting on Sunday and issued a decree aimed at providing swift help to people in need following the disaster.
The decree includes an initial aid package of 2 million euros, Civil Protection Minister Nello Musumeci told reporters.
Statistics show the hilly island has a large number of houses that were built illegally, putting inhabitants at permanent risk from flooding and earthquakes.
“People must understand that they can’t live in some areas and buildings in risky areas must be torn down”, Campania governor Vincenzo De Luca told state broadcaster RAI on Sunday.