Death toll from Italy's Ischia landslide rises to 11

The landslide forced the evacuation of around 300 people. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

ROME - The death toll from a landslide that devastated a small town on the southern Italian holiday island of Ischia rose to 11 on Thursday as three more bodies were recovered.

The bodies of a 38-year-old woman and two men aged 38 and 31 were found and identified, the Prefecture of Naples, a local branch of the Interior Ministry, said in a statement.

The discovery left one person still missing, with slim hopes of finding her alive after last weekend’s disaster.

Three children, including a baby less than one month old, are among the other confirmed victims.

A wave of mud, debris and stones broke away from Ischia’s highest mountain on Saturday, following torrential rain, and crashed down over houses and roads in and around the small town of Casamicciola Terme.

The landslide forced the evacuation of around 300 people, a local government official said this week.

Ischia, a volcanic island some 30km from Naples, is famous for its thermal baths and picturesque coastline. But it is also especially vulnerable to natural disasters.

In Casamicciola Terme, two people died in 2017 after a 4.0-magnitude earthquake, while two other landslides in 2006 and 2009 claimed five lives in total.

Experts and activists say Ischia is now even more at risk from natural disasters due to a high proportion of illegal buildings, though local politicians insist that the island’s biggest problem is a failure to work on landslide prevention measures. REUTERS

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