Rescue workers search for missing people after landslide on Italy’s Ischia Island

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Emergency workers stepped up efforts to find 11 people missing on the Southern Italian holiday island of Ischia, a day after a landslide caused by torrential rain devastated a small town on Sunday.

Rescue divers were searching the waters off the port of Casamicciola Terme, where a wave of mud, debris and stones broke away from the island’s highest mountain on Saturday and crashed over houses and roads, killing at least one person.

Several cars were pushed into the sea. Aerial video shots showed several buildings smashed by the landslide, which engulfed the town. One resident described seeing “a waterfall of water and mud”.

The prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, says the death toll was still 1 but 11 people were missing, adding that improved weather conditions should help search efforts.

Densely populated, Ischia is a volcanic island which lies some 30 km from Naples. It draws visitors to its thermal baths and picturesque coastline.

Two families, including some children, were believed to be among the missing, according to local officials.

Italy’s new government led by Giorgia Meloni held a cabinet meeting on Sunday and issued a decree aimed at providing swift help to people in need following the disaster.

Civil Protection Minister, Nello Musumeci says the decree includes an initial aid package of 2 million euros.

Statistics show the hilly island has a large number of houses that were built illegally, putting inhabitants at permanent risk of flooding and earthquakes.