Ischia to evacuate 1,000 people over fears of further landslides

At least 1,100 people were set to be evacuated from the southern Italian island of Ischia on Friday ahead of more bad weather, after a landslide on Saturday left 11 dead and one missing.

Ischia to evacuate 1,000 people over fears of further landslides
Rain was expected to cause further damage on Friday in Ischia, southern Italy, as the clean-up and rescue effort continued almost a week after a deadly landslide. Photo by ELIANO IMPERATO / AFP

The island of Ischia was preparing to evacuate at least 1,100 people from their homes in and around Casamicciola, the town hit by a deadly landslide on Saturday, authorities in the Campania region said on Friday following a weather alert.

Rescuers on Ischia, in the Bay of Naples, are still searching for one person missing feared dead after heavy rains triggered a landslide on the island on Saturday.

The death toll from the landslide rose to 11 on Friday after three more bodies were found in the mud.

The risk of further landslides in the area is thought to be high later on Friday, as the Civil Protection Department issued an alert for Ischia and other parts of Campania warning that heavy rain is expected to hit the area from 4pm.

Up to 1,300 people could be evacuated in total with at least 600 buildings thought to be at risk in the affected area, according to Italian news agency Ansa.

READ ALSO: Italy declares state of emergency after deadly Ischia landslide

Officials stressed that evacuation would not be forced, but that it was necessary for the safety of residents.

A muddy street following heavy rains that caused a landslide in Casamicciola on Ischia on November 26th, 2022: Photo: Eliano IMPERATO/AFP

“The evacuation is a precaution,” Casamicciola councillor Simonetta Calcaterra told a press conference on Friday morning.

“There shouldn’t be violent rain, but there is a lot of mud in the area already affected by the landslide and it can become dangerous even with a little water.”

Evacuees will be housed in hotels and sports facilities in other parts of Ischia, according to reports.

Geologists warned following Saturday’s disaster that there were “high risks” of further landslides on parts of Ischia.

Experts said the landslide was caused by a fatal mix of overdevelopment, deforestation, and a lack of mitigation strategies.

On Monday, the island’s former mayor said he had tried to raise the alarm four days earlier and had asked for at-risk areas to be evacuated, but claimed his warnings were ignored.

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Ischia landslide death toll rises to 12 as last missing person found

Rescuers in Ischia recovered the body of the last missing person on Tuesday, bringing the landslide’s death toll to 12.

Ischia landslide death toll rises to 12 as last missing person found

The Italian fire service announced on Tuesday that the body of the last missing person had been found, and released a picture of rescuers at work in an area of mud and debris still strewn with personal belongings.

Italian medianamed the last victim as 31-year-old Maria Teresa Arcamone, a waitress in a popular bar in Forio on the eastern part of the island. 

According to Ansa, Arcamone was found in the Rarone car park, where most of the debris piled up during the landslide. 

Arcamone’s in-laws Maurizio and Giovanna and her baby nephew, Giovangiuseppe, were also killed by the landslide, Ansa reported.

A wave of mud and debris swept through the small town of Casamicciola Terme on Saturday, November 26th following heavy rains, destroying houses and sweeping cars down to the sea.

READ ALSO: Landslides and earthquakes: Why Ischia – and most of Italy – is at risk

As of Tuesday many Ischia residents were reportedly still staying in hotels, awaiting the go-ahead to return home.

Geologists have already warned that bad weather risks causing further landslides on some parts of the island, which sits near Capri and is crowded with tourists over the summer.

Last Friday, authorities evacuated over 1,000 people from at-risk areas following a heavy rain alert.

Experts said the disaster was caused by a fatal mix of deforestation, overdevelopment and a lack of mitigation strategies.