28 November 2022
Casamicciola: drone footage of the deadly landslide at Ischia in Italy
The deadly 27 November 2022 landslide at the town of Casamicciola Terme on the island of Ischia in Italy is now known to have killed seven people, whilst a further five remain missing. Those confirmed to have died include a three week old baby and two other children. Four people were injured. Rescue operations have continued through the night, but the prospects of anyone being recovered alive are low.
Ischia is a volcanic island with steep slopes. Landslides have occurred on manyy previous occasions, and the risk has been greatly exacerbated by unplanned urban development in locations that are simply inappropriate. Much of this development has occurred over the last three decades.
The most revealing imagery that I have seen of this landslide is a drone video that has been published on the 3B Meteo website. It shows the full length of the landslide at Casamicciola. This is the upper portion:-
The path of the landslide has then run straight through the town. The still below shows the section of the upper part of the urbanbised area with the landslide track:-
The path of the landslide reached the sea in the lower part of the town, with vehicles and the remains of buildings being dumped into the water.
In Hong Kong this would be termed a natural terrain landslide. The drone footage appears to indicate that it initiated on the very steep upper reaches of the slope as a comparatively small failure in weathered rock. The channelised flow has then entrained large volumes of debris to generate a highly destructive flow.
In Italy, these types of events tend to generate a great deal of concern about the high levels of vulnerability to landslides. I expect that there will be many statements urging the need to deal with the risk. On previous occasions little action has actually been taken.