Italy landslide death toll rises to 8, warnings 'ignored'

Italy landslide death toll rises to 8, warnings 'ignored'

Experts said the disaster was caused by a fatal mix of deforestation, overdevelopment, and a lack of mitigation strategies.
Experts said the disaster was caused by a fatal mix of deforestation, overdevelopment, and a lack of mitigation strategies.

ROME - Search parties on Monday recovered the body of an eighth victim of a landslide on the small Italian island of Ischia, as a former mayor said his calls for an evacuation had been ignored.

A wave of earth and debris crashed through the small town of Casamicciola Terme amid heavy rains on Saturday, destroying houses and sweeping cars down to the sea.

The latest body to be recovered was a 15-year-old boy, killed along with his younger brother and sister. Four people are still missing, authorities said.

As the island mourned its dead, including a 21-day-old baby, it emerged Monday that former mayor Giuseppe Conte had called four days earlier for at-risk areas to be evacuated.

He sent 23 emails to authorities, but "nobody answered me," he told the Corriere della Sera.

Geologist Aniello Di Iorio told the Corriere della Sera daily there were "high risks" of further landslides on parts of Ischia, a lush island near Capri that is thronged with tourists in summer.

Experts said the disaster was caused by a fatal mix of deforestation, overdevelopment, and a lack of mitigation strategies.

National Council of Architects head Francesco Miceli said it was "a tragedy foretold".

"This is not an isolated case, the risk areas are numerous and affect many regions of our country," he said.

Italy needs to "quickly define more incisive territorial control strategies (and) concrete intervention programmes, and disburse adequate resources", he said.

The devastation in Ischia comes just weeks after 11 people died in heavy rain and flooding in the central Italian region of Marche.

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