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The death toll from the flood on the Italian island of Ischia rises to seven

Two members of the rescue service load a baby carriage after a landslide on the Italian island of Ischia. / Reuters

The Government declares a state of emergency while the search for the five missing persons continues

Search operations continue in the town of Casamicciola, located on the island of Ischia, opposite the Italian city of Naples, to try to find survivors after a gigantic mudslide caused by torrential rains left twelve missing and affected dozens of homes, causing 167 people to leave their homes. At the moment there are seven lifeless bodies found in the mud and five remain missing, who are part of two families.

In addition to the body of Eleonora Sirabella, 31, located a few hours after the tragedy under a meter and a half of mud, six other bodies were found yesterday. They are the brothers Francesco and Maria Teresa Monti, 11 and 6 years old respectively and whose parents and brother are still missing; of the couple formed by Maurizio di Minico and Giovanna Mazzella, aged 32 and 30, and their son Giovan Giuseppe, who was only 22 days old; and the Bulgarian citizen Nikolinka Gancheva Blangova, 58 years old. The lifeguards managed to find three people in good health, including two elderly people who had been isolated in an area with difficult access, although they had not been reported missing.

One day after the disaster, Giorgia Meloni’s government held an extraordinary Council of Ministers in which it declared a state of emergency for the affected area for one year and approved a first aid package of two million euros. As promised by the Minister for the South and responsible for Civil Protection, Nello Musumeci, more funds will be dedicated “once an acknowledgment of the damage and the immediate demands” of the population of Casamicciola is made. There will also be a specific plan to rebuild damaged homes and public buildings. Meloni, for his part, promised that he will visit the town as soon as possible and showed his solidarity with the affected population while appreciating the work of the relief teams.

It is not an isolated case

The tragedy experienced in Ischia is not an isolated case in Italy, where it is relatively common for torrential rains to cause avalanches with deaths and significant material damage. The previous one took place in mid-September in the Marche region, on the Adriatic coast, and left twelve dead and one person still missing.

As forecast by meteorologists, episodes of torrential rains will become more and more common due to the climate emergency. The illegal construction of houses in risk areas also contributes to these disasters, as Vincenzo De Luca, president of Campania, the region to which Ischia belongs, recalled. “People need to understand that in some areas you can’t live,” De Luca warned.

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