At least 13 people are believed to be missing after heavy rain led to landslides on Ischia island in Italy, which destroyed homes and cars, according to videos posted to social media.
The Italian Fire Brigade said that rescue crews were sent to work in the small town of Casamicciola with reinforcements coming from Naples, CNN reported on Saturday. However, the Italian Civil Protection Department said that weather conditions are making it difficult for rescuers to find people.
A video posted by Sky News showed damaged roads, houses destroyed after being swept away, and cars submerged in mud. Heavy rainstorms and flooding caused several landslides in the town of Casamicciola Terme, which is located 20 miles off the coast of Naples.
Authorities said that some of the buildings were damaged, leaving residents cut off on the island. Meanwhile, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said on Twitter that she is in contact with the Civil Protection Department in an effort with local authorities to address the situation.
“I am in contact with Minister Musumeci, the @DPCgov and the Campania Region to follow the evolution of the bad weather wave that hit Ischia. The Government expresses closeness to the citizens, to the mayors of the island and thanks the rescuers engaged in the search for the missing,” she said, according to a translation of her tweet.
In addition, Ischia Mayor Enzo Ferrandino described the situation as a “tragedy” and urged residents to stay home, CNN reported, citing ANSA news agency.
There have been some fears that some people might have died as a result of the landslides as the body of a woman was reportedly found under the mud, according to the BBC.
Italian officials believe that there might be people trapped under the mud after up to 155 millimeters (6 inches) of rain fell within six hours. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi described the situation as “very complicated.”
There were initial reports by Infrastructure Minister Matteo Salvini stating that eight people had died in the landslide, but the interior minister said that no deaths were confirmed yet.
Lisa Mocciaro, one of the residents on the island, told ANSA news agency: “We started hearing loud thunder at about 03:00 [local time], then the first landslide came down, followed by a second one around 05:00. It was horrifying.”
The Campania region, which surrounds Naples and Ischia, has been already experiencing heavy rains for a few days, according to the BBC.
The bad weather led to two deaths in the region. The victims included a man who was struck by lightning on a beach and an Argentinian tourist who drowned after being swept into the sea during a coastal storm. A weather warning for strong winds and rainfall is in place until Sunday.
Last year, a landslide on the Italian coast near Genoa destroyed a cemetery, causing hundreds of coffins to fall into the sea, according to CNN.
An earthquake of a 3.6 magnitude was recorded earlier this year at the supervolcano Campi Flegrei, which is located approximately 9 miles from Naples. The area has one of the world’s most crowded active volcanoes, with more than 2.2 million people living nearly 3 miles away from the site.
Newsweek reached out to Italy’s Civil Protection Department for comment.