At least eight people have been reported dead after a landslide struck the Italian holiday island of Ischia, with a further 13 people missing and 100 people feared to be trapped inside their homes. Rescue operations are currently underway to find the missing people, including a young child, after buildings were engulfed by the landslide that was triggered by heavy rain.
The island, located in the Bay of Naples, has also been flooded, with two people rescued from a car that was pulled into the sea, according to the local fire department. Italy’s infrastructure minister, Matteo Salvini told The Independent: “There are eight people dead in the Ischia landslide. Rescuers are working in difficult conditions.”
A young child is believed to be among those being sought by authorities, according to an official within Italy’s civil protection service, who also stated families at risk were being evacuated. The fire service said that reinforcements were being deployed from Naples but were having difficulty reaching the island by motorboats and helicopters owing to severe weather.
Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said she was in close contact with the civil protection minister and Campania Region authorities "to follow the evolution of the wave of bad weather that has hit Ischia."
Videos and pictures from the island, doing the rounds on social media, show the massive scale of destruction where cars were swept up and smashed against one another as well as walls from houses being smashed away. Early reports also suggest one of the 13 missing people is a family with a newborn baby and a 25-year-old who lived in two houses on the island.
According to local media, Giacomo Pascale, mayor of the neighbouring commune Lacco Ameno, there are reportedly around 30 families and about 100 people who are believed to be stranded in their homes without access to electricity or water as a result of the landslide.
After the violent storm, the typical routes that take people to and from their homes are blocked, making rescue efforts more challenging. Along with being without electricity, people have been stuck inside the Hotel Terme Manzi by dirt. Since some cars were washed into the water, divers and sailors are also being deployed in the rescue operation. The island has experienced a landslide previously, with similar damage taking place in 2009.