ITALY has declared a state of emergency after a massive landslide buried a town and swept away cars and buses.
At least 11 people are feared dead after catastrophic landslides caused by heavy rain swept through a town on the Italian holiday island of Ischia, near Naples.
Emergency services said a wave of mud crashed through Casamicciola Terme, a small town on the volcanic island about 19 miles from Naples, engulfing buildings and sending cars into the sea.
Rescue divers are frantically searching the waters off the port of the town and digging through the mud and debris for survivors.
Footage showed showed several buildings smashed by the landslide, with one resident describing seeing “a waterfall of water and mud”.
Local official Claudio Palomba, said the death toll was still one after the body of a woman was found – but 11 people are still missing.
Two families, including some children, are believed to be among the missing, according to local officials.
Palomba said 160 people have been left homeless, while four have been injured.
Spokesman for Italian firefighter, Luca Cari, told RAI state TV: “Mud and water tend to fill every space.
“Our teams are searching with hope, even if it is very difficult.
“Our biggest hope is that people identified as missing have found refuge with relatives and friends and have not advised of their position.”
He added: “The risks of landslides remained in the part of town furthest up the mountain, near where heavy rainfall loosened a chunk of mountainside, requiring search teams to enter by foot.”
The Italian fire brigade said a massive rainstorm that started at 4am on Saturday sparked flooding and landslides on the island.
The island saw nearly five inches of rain in just six hours – the heaviest rainfall in 20 years, officials said.
Giacomo Pascale, the mayor of the neighbouring town of Lacco Ameno, told RAI: “We are continuing the search with our hearts broken, because among the missing are also minors.”
Officials said help was being sent from Naples, the nearest major city – but weather conditions were making it difficult to access the island.
The Italian government declared a state of emergency for the island during an urgent cabinet meeting Sunday, earmarking €2million for the rescue operation and to restore public services.
PM Giorgia Meloni offered her thoughts to those affected, her office said.
Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Ischia during the traditional Sunday blessing in St Peter’s Square.
“I am praying for the victims, for those who are suffering and for those who are involved in the rescue,” he said.
Casamicciola Terme, which draws visitors to its thermal baths and picturesque coastline, was hit by an earthquake in 2017, killing two people.
Source : https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/20566567/trapped-dead-landslide-town-italian-holiday-island-2/