23 February 2021
Camogli, Italy: the unfortunate impact of a landslide in a cemetery
On 22 February 2021 a large coastal landslide occurred in the town of Camogli, near to Genoa in northwest Italy. In common with so much of Italy, Camogli is a historic town; thus, an urban landslide almost inevitably damages the historic fabric. In this case the landslide affected a large urban cemetery, which led to over 200 coffins falling into the sea. Fortunately no-one was injured.
An Italian fire brigade helicopter captured some images of the site. The image below shows the aftermath of the landslide:-
This appears to be a large rockfall on a near-vertical coastal slope, and it seems likely that there is undercutting by the sea. The image below is the Google Earth view of the site:-
The Italian Fire Brigade helicopter also captured the aftermath, with the remains of over 200 coffins floating in the sea, many having been damaged:-
Clearly this is a deeply unfortunate incident that will have been very distressing for all involved. News reports suggest that the slope at Camogli had started to suffer from instability problems after a major storm in 2018. Works to mitigate the instability on parts of the cliff were ongoing, with scaling and vegetation removal, prior to the installation of a reinforcing mesh. Works were being undertaken at the time, such that workers at the site had to escape. However, the reports suggest that the actual section of cliff that collapsed may not have been subject to these works.
Efforts are now underway to retrieve the coffins and the remains.