’12 missing’ as torrential rain causes landslide on island of Ischia

Italy’s interior minister said on Saturday that 12 people were missing after torrential rain caused a landslide on the island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, but that no deaths had been confirmed.

It followed heavy rainfall in the early hours of the morning in the northern town of Casamicciola Terme.

“No bodies have been found for the moment,” said a local official in Naples, Claudio Palomba, quoted by the AGI news agency.

Earlier, in the late morning the ANSA and AGI agencies reported that 13 people were missing on the Italian holiday island.

ANSA, citing the local police, said that buildings had been engulfed. Mud and water is said to have reached the first floor of the houses.

The Italian fire brigade tweeted that a rainstorm that started at 0500 CET caused flooding and landslides on the island.

It said that searches were underway for any missing people in Casamicciola Terme, one of the six small towns of Ischia, a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea about 30 kilometres from Naples.

The landslide “buried a house” and sent several cars into the sea, the fire service said, adding that people were being sought in the northern town.

The landslide is said to have produced heavy damage in the Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno area.

The fire brigade mentioned difficulties in reaching the island with motorboats and helicopters due to bad weather.

Gianni Capuano, an official of Italy’s Civil Protection, told Sky TG24 that a young child was among the missing, adding that families in danger were being evacuated.

A car was dragged into the sea and the two occupants were rescued, the fire brigade said on Twitter.

The authorities said that contrary to claims in several media, no deaths had been confirmed. Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini had earlier been quoted by several media as saying eight people had died in the landslide.

Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was in close contact with the Civil Protection minister Nello Musumeci, the Civil Protection Department and the Campania Region “to follow the evolution of the wave of bad weather that has hit Ischia”.

“The government expresses its closeness to the citizens and mayors of the municipalities on the island of Ischia and thanks the rescuers engaged in the search for the missing”, she said.

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