Heavy rainfall triggered landslides early Saturday on the southern Italian island of Ischia that collapsed buildings and left as many as 12 people missing.
Italy’s interior minister said no deaths had yet been confirmed, appearing to contradict an early announcement by another senior politician.
“At the moment there are no confirmed deaths,” said Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi, speaking from the firefighters emergency coordination centre.
Italian Vice-Premier Matteo Salvini, who is also the infrastructure minister, earlier had said that eight deaths had been confirmed, speaking to reporters at the opening of a subway extension in Milan.
The prefecture for the Naples region, which includes Ischia, said at least 12 people were missing.
Video from the island shows paths that the landslides had cut down slopes, leaving behind traces of mud. Streets were impassable and mayors on the island urged people to stay at home. At least 100 people were reported stranded.
The news agency ANSA reported that at least 10 buildings had collapsed. One family with a newborn that was previously reported missing had been located and was receiving medical care, according to the Naples prefect, Claudio Palomba.
Firefighters and the Coast Guard were working on rescue efforts. Reinforcements arrived by ferry, including teams of sniffer dogs to help the search efforts.
The densely populated mountainous island is a popular tourist destination for both its beaches and spas. A 4.0 quake on the island in 2017 killed two people, causing significant damage to the towns of Casamicciola and neighbouring Lacco Ameno.