Torrential rain triggered landslides early Saturday morning on the southern Italian island of Ischia, collapsing buildings and up to 12 people were missing.
No deaths have yet been confirmed, Italy’s interior minister said, apparently contradicting an early announcement by another prominent politician.
“At the moment there are no confirmed deaths,” Interior Minister Matteo Biantidossi said, speaking from the fire department’s emergency coordination center.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, who is also the infrastructure minister, said earlier that eight deaths had been confirmed, speaking to reporters at the opening of a metro extension in Milan.
The Prefecture of Naples, which includes Ischia, said at least 12 people were missing.
Video from the island shows the tracks the landslides cut down the slopes, leaving trails of mud behind. The streets were impassable and the island’s mayors urged people to stay indoors. At least 100 people have been reported stranded.
The ANSA news agency reported that at least 10 buildings had collapsed. A family with a previously missing baby boy has been found and is receiving medical care, according to the Prefect of Naples, Claudio Palomba.
Firefighters and the Coast Guard were working on rescue efforts. Reinforcements arrived by ferry, including sniffer dog teams, to assist in the search effort.
The densely populated, mountainous island is a popular tourist destination for its beaches and spas. A 4.0-magnitude earthquake on the island in 2017 killed two people and caused significant damage to the neighboring cities of Casamikiola and Laco Amino.