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Saturday, February 4, 2023

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Landslide in Casamicciola in Ischia, one digs in the mud. One victim and 11 missing. Mattarella and Meloni, close to the affected population

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This morning, around 5 am, a river of mud and debris hit Casamicciola, a town on the island of Ischia, causing enormous damage.

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One confirmed dead, 11 missing, 13 injured of which only one in “slightly more serious” conditions. These are the data provided by the prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, during an update press point on the situation in Casamicciola. The prefect reported that the prefectural commissioner who is in Casamicciola “told us that perhaps a family group of three units was found alive”.

The first confirmed victim of the Casamicciola landslide is a woman. At the moment the toll is 12 missing but rescuers are digging in the mud looking for people. The woman’s body was identified and recovered in Piazza Maio, one of the first areas hit by rescuers. In all likelihood the victim, a citizen of an Eastern country and married to an Ischia man, was overwhelmed at that very point by the landslide that left her no way out. 70 men from the fire brigade are operating on the spot, together with personnel from the Civil Protection and the men of the police force, but the rescue operations are also made complicated by the difficult weather conditions. A total of 20 vehicles are employed, including helicopters, drones and earthmoving equipment. “The prefecture together with the Region is arranging the evacuation of about 200 people”, announced the Minister of the Interior, Matteo Piantedosi who spoke of “a serious situation, with people probably still under the mud”.

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A family with a newborn, initially lost, has been found: they are all safe and will resort to medical care. The landslide came down, at the very first light of dawn, from the mountain behind the hamlet of the island, as happened in November 2009, and dragged boulders and debris that caused the collapse of at least 10 buildings. There are about 30 isolated families, a total of 100 people who have yet to be reached and who are without water and electricity. The road leading to their homes is currently impassable due to mud.

The areas where the force with which the landslide hit is most visible are the port of Casamicciola and Piazza Bagni: the ground gave way from Mount Epomeo and the mud avalanche erased the vegetation, the trees came down like skittles leaving the sides of the mountain. At least a dozen cars and two tourist buses are piled up on the seafront which the force of the landslide dragged down. Some cars ended up in the water, others are submerged in mud. Even the sea at the port has changed colour: it has turned brown because of that river of mud that has come down from the mountain. Things are no better in the upper area, the one already injured by the 2017 earthquake. The bobcats go back and forth to remove the debris. The regional civil protection has prepared generators that will be put into operation in order to allow searches even in the dark. However, the 100 blocks still remain without electricity and water, impossible for rescuers to reach. Meanwhile, hoteliers and restaurateurs have given their willingness to offer hospitality and meals for displaced people and rescuers. The municipal operations center was opened in the temporary seat of the Municipality. A search is also underway on the island for public structures, such as gyms and schools, where to temporarily accommodate people left homeless. The president of the Campania Region, Vicenzo De Luca calls for “a state of emergency for the island of Ischia and the territories affected by these disastrous atmospheric events”. And as a sign of “respect and closeness” tonight the premiere at the Teatro San Carlo has been cancelled.

Macron calls Meloni
The French president Emmanuel Macron spoke this afternoon with the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and expressed his support and solidarity after the dramatic events on the island of Ischia. This was reported by sources from the Elysium.

Salvini, “eight confirmed dead” caution from the prefect
“There are eight confirmed dead”, informs the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport Matthew Salvini but the prefect of Naples Palomba is cautious.
”At the moment there is news of a victim, certainly confirmed, and there are still a dozen missing”, says the mayor of Naples instead, Gaetano Manfredi. “The situation is very complicatedthese are people who are probably under the mud, who are not answering calls,” says the interior minister, Matteo Piantedosi, on Tg2 responding from the fire brigade’s operations room, from where he is following the rescue operations for the landslide in Casamicciola. “The prefecture together with the Region is arranging the evacuation of about 200 people, for the shelter of the people affected by the landslide, who must be saved”, said the Minister of the Interior.

The ship San Giorgio is arriving
The San Giorgio ship of the Navy, with personnel from the San Marco battalion and a SH90 helicopter on board, is sailing from the Ionian Sea to approach the Flegrean islands in case of need for employment. “Defense is also the one that today has the helicopters that brought the firefighters to Ischia, that go to get people, that launches a ship and redeploys it in front of the island, because if needed it is ready to welcome people or the wounded,” said the defense minister, Guido Crosettoon the sidelines of an event.

Summit in the prefecture
During the summit in the prefecture ‘the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, wanted to make sure of the situation”. This was reported by the prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba, underlining that the premier connected on video during the CCS meeting as well as the interior minister, Piantedosi. The government is ready to do its part after the tragedy of Ischia. This was said – ANSA learns – by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni who has just left the headquarters of the Civil Protection, where it remained for a long time video-connected with the operating committee of the rescue coordination center set up at the Prefecture of Naples. The premier made the point with the Head of Civil Protection Curcio, the mayors of Ischia, the Campania governor De Luca, the interior minister Piantedosi and the foreign minister Tajani. Giorgia Meloni has assured that she will alert all ministers for a possible council of ministers to be convened urgently. Extraordinary, an international excellence. This is how Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni described the Italian Civil Protection – ANSA learns – thanking it for its ability to respond to the many emergencies in Italy. The prime minister was videolinked by the Civil Protection with the operating committee of the rescue coordination center set up at the Prefecture of Naples, the nerve center of the rescue after the Ischia tragedy.

Mattarella, close to the affected population
The president of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, called the mayor of the metropolitan city of Naples to express his closeness to the populations affected by the landslide, to express his gratitude for the work of the rescuers and to make sure of the progress of the relief efforts. Manfredi thanked the Head of State for always being close to the city and its community.

Bad weather on the island of Ischia, landslide in Casamicciola

Just the adverse weather conditions are making it even more complex rescue operations in light of the sea force 11 which is slowing down the arrival of men and equipment from Naples and Pozzuoli: for this reason Defense Minister Crosetto has announced the contribution of the armed forces to the relief efforts.

The mayors of the Green Island invite citizens not to move and to stay in their homes. The doctors who were on duty this morning at the Rizzoli hospital in Ischia remained on duty. The medical residents of the island also arrived to provide aid to the injured in the Casamicciola landslide. Many testimonies from the island. “Around midnight it started to rain heavily – says Lisa Mocciaro, illustrator of children’s books, now a prisoner in the house on the third floor of the house in Casamicciola -. From three o’clock we began to hear roars. The first landslide came down, then another around 5. An impressive thing, perhaps worse than the 2009 flood and as terrible as the 2017 earthquake”. The controversy over the fragility of the territory due to “too many tragedies”, as Minister Tajani recalls. In the last sixteen years, the area affected today has been the scene of two landslides and an earthquake.

Landslide and missing in Ischia

Source: Ansa

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