Ischia: Landslide death toll on Italian island rises to 7

Rescue workers continue search throughout night.

The death toll from a landslide on the southern Italian island of Ischia rose to seven on Sunday night, with five people still missing and more than 200 people displaced, the Naples prefect Claudio Palomba said.

The disaster occurred at dawn on Saturday in the port town of Casamicciola Terme, in the north of the holiday island, engulfing houses and sweeping cars into the sea in a torrent of mud, rocks and debris.

The seven confirmed casualties are a newborn baby, his parents, a five-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother, and two women.

On Sunday the Italian government declared a state of emergency on the island, which lies in the Gulf of Naples, allocating an initial tranche of €2 million in funds to tackle the disaster.

The landslide was preceded by a freak rainfall of 126 millimetres of rain in six hours, and has reignited an old debate about illegal construction in areas of high risk.

Pope Francis expressed his closeness to the people of Ischia during his Sunday blessing in St Peter’s Square, saying: “I am praying for the victims, for those who are suffering and for those who are involved in the rescue.”

Authorities are expected to give an update on the situation on Monday morning.

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