21 people are confirmed dead following rainstorms and landslides in Sicily.
The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said the number of victims could more than double as 30 people were missing.
Rescue workers are continuing to dig through the mud in the hope of finding more survivors – a hope that is diminishing with each hour.
One survivor said: “We have lost everything, our shop, everything. We have been fortunate to get away. Now we are trying to save what we can. Then we will start again.”
Another survivor said: “We have been rescued by a miracle. We escaped and we lost everything, documents, everything.”
The storm hit the Italian island of Sicily, the north east town of Messina.
Italian media is calling it a foretold tragedy and questioning why houses had been built so close to river beds and the sea front in an area already hit by landslides two years ago.
The impact was made worse by shoddy building in the region. Hundreds have been left homeless.