Body of a girl found in a landslide in Italy; death toll rises to 2

MILAN – Search teams pulled the body of a young girl from her family home on Sunday as they dug in the mud for a second day in search of people still missing after a huge landslide on the island Italian seaside resort of Ischia.

The prefect of Naples has confirmed that the death toll from the tragedy has risen to two, also following the recovery of the body of a 31-year-old woman from the island on Saturday.

Ten other people are still missing in the port town of Casamicciola, fearing they could be buried in mud and debris.

“Mud and water tend to fill every space,” Italian fire department spokesman Luca Cari told state television RAI. “Our teams are looking with hope, even if it is very difficult.”

“Our greatest hope is that those identified as missing have found refuge with relatives and friends and not informed of their whereabouts,” he added.

Landslide hazards remained in the highest part of town, near where heavy rains loosened a piece of the mountainside, forcing search teams to walk in, he said. he declares.

Small bulldozers focused on clearing roads overnight to allow rescue vehicles to pass, while dive teams were brought in to check cars that had been pushed overboard.

“We are continuing the search with a broken heart, because among the missing there are also minors,” Giacomo Pascale, the mayor of the nearby town of Lacco Ameno, told RAI.

Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Ischia during the traditional Sunday blessing in St. Peter’s Square. “I pray for the victims, for those who are suffering and for those involved in the rescue,” he said.

The prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, said on Sunday that 15 homes had been submerged by the flood of mud. In addition to the dead and missing, four people were injured and more than 160 displaced.

The massive landslide before dawn on Saturday was triggered by exceptional rainfall and sent a mass of mud and debris through the port of Casamicciola, collapsing buildings and dragging vehicles into the sea.

A widely circulated video showed a man, covered in mud, clinging to a shutter, chest deep in muddy water.

The island received nearly five inches of rain in six hours, the heaviest rainfall in 20 years, officials said. Experts said the disaster had been exacerbated by construction in high-risk areas on the mountainous island, which is also in an earthquake-active zone. Two people were killed in 2017 when a 4.0 magnitude earthquake struck Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno.

“There is a territory that cannot be occupied. You cannot change the use of an area where there is water. The course of the water created this disaster,” geologist Riccardo Caniparoli told RAI. “There are standards and laws that have not been respected.”

Vincenzo De Luca, president of the Campagna region where Ischia is located, said houses in risk areas had to be demolished, suggesting they had been built without the necessary permits.

“People have to understand that you can’t live in certain areas. The need (to build) illegally does not exist,” De Luca told RAI. “Buildings in fragile areas should be demolished.”

The Italian government declared a state of emergency for the island at an urgent Cabinet meeting on Sunday, allocating nearly $2.1 million to rescue and restore public services.

“The government expresses its closeness to the citizens, mayors and towns of the island of Ischia and thanks the rescuers searching for the victims,” ​​Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said in a statement.

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