Four people still missing on Italian island after deadly landslide

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By Gael Camba
Rescuers work after heavy rainfall triggered landslides that collapsed buildings, in Casamicciola, on the southern Italian island of Ischia.
Rescuers work after heavy rainfall triggered landslides that collapsed buildings, in Casamicciola, on the southern Italian island of Ischia.   -  Copyright  Salvatore Laporta/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

Hopes of finding more survivors of the deadly landslide on the Italian Island of Ischia are fading as rescuers continue to dig through the mud and debris, sometimes by hand.

So far, at least eight people are confirmed dead, with four more still missing.

 "The search teams are working with great difficulty," says firefighter Mario Della Corte.  "They are working by hand obviously because we still cannot use excavators. Everything is done by hand or with shovels. We are trying to remove as much material as possible in the shortest time."

Salvatore Laporta/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved
People remove mud and debris after heavy rainfall triggered landslides that collapsed buildings in Casamicciola, Italy.Salvatore Laporta/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved

On Monday the rescue team found the body of an eighth landslide victim. The victim was identified by the Naples prefect as a 15-year-old boy whose younger siblings were confirmed dead over the weekend. Victims also include a three-week-old infant and his parents.

Young volunteers help rescuers

Volunteers are helping the rescue efforts which are complicated by persistent rain and strong winds. The narrow roads make it even more difficult to access some houses.

"We have been here since eight this morning," says a youngster helping the firefighters. "We work to free the homes from the mud. The situation is difficult. We pray and hope for the families who are still missing. One of our classmates from our school is among the missing. The hope of finding him is unfortunately fading."

The island has a long history of natural disasters, but experts say this weekend’s landslide was exacerbated by a combination of climate change and often-illegal excessive development.