Avalanche of Death on ISCHIA - The Rage on the Authorities!

To the incredible grief comes an incredible rage! Eleven people, including four children, died in a landslide on Ischia on Saturday. Illegally built houses are said to be to blame for the mudslide. In addition, warnings about the storm are said to have been ignored. The public prosecutor's office is investigating.

Ten people killed by mudslide on Ischia

The former mayor of Casamicciola Giuseppe Conte (75, retired engineer) had warned various authorities of a landslide in his town a total of 23 times up to four days before the storm. In his mails, he urgently called for the evacuation of the population. However, neither the local nor the regional authorities, nor the civil defence of Campania reacted.

View from Monte Epomeo into the valley: A mudslide detached itself from this mountain on Saturday (archive image)
Photo: robypangy/Getty Images via canva.com

Why at least eleven people had to die - although the risk was known - is now being investigated by the public prosecutor's office in Naples. They are also investigating on site on Ischia, still against unknown persons.

The nightmare on Ischia is man-made. Ischia is a symbol for illegal building sins in Italy. A memorial. With tourism came the building boom. Permits took time, every 7th house on the island was built without planning permission. And that, although Ischia is built on volcanic soil.

The current recovery work after the landslide on Ischia

Volcanic soil is fragile and slippery, always in motion. Even on the most risky areas, construction was carried out on Ischia, including on the slopes of the now affected Monte Epomeo. Because every house on the slope needs a terrace with a clear panoramic view, there was no end to the deforestation. When it rains as heavily as it did on Saturday, the soil can no longer absorb the water.

An entire slope of Monte Epomeo thundered violently hundreds of metres down into the valley into the small town of Casamicciola Terme early on Saturday morning. Ten people diedn, including three siblings (†6,†11 and †15 years) and their parents, also a young couple with their three-week-old infant. Two people are still missing.

160 firefighters from all over southern Italy are in action

In the past 40 years, there have been three government decrees allowing retroactive approval of illegally built houses: in 1984, 1994 and 2018. Despite this building amnesty, however, not all applications for approval went through on Ischia: More than 600 houses should have been demolished since 2018. But nothing has happened. Mayors and authorities look the other way, the accusation goes. Moreover, no protective measures against landslides had been created in the risk areas.

At the same time, the salvage work continues at full speed. Divers scan the seabed near the port of Casamicciola with sonar. 160 firefighters from Campania, Lazio, Tuscany, Abruzzo, Puglia and Molise are deployed on Ischia. Heavy equipment and dog squads are supporting the work. The mudslide damaged dozens of buildings. More than 260 people were left homeless. About 7,600 people lived in the small town before the disaster.

More than 260 people were left homeless

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written by Pietro Perroni, first published 29 November 2022