The Italian government released the first tranche of two million dollars in relief funds following a deadly landslide in the south of the country, where rescuers are still searching for a dozen missing people.

Wreckage of cars and buses crushed by the mudslide could be seen and boulders were scattered around as excavators sought to free up access to homes, cars and shops.
Wreckage of cars and buses crushed by the mudslide could be seen and boulders were scattered around as excavators sought to free up access to homes, cars and shops. (Salvatore Laporta / AP)

Italian authorities have called a state of emergency following the deadly landslide on the southern island of Ischia which killed at least two people and left many more missing.

A first tranche of two million dollars relief funds was released at the end of an emergency cabinet meeting which declared the state of emergency, said Minister for Civil Protection Nello Musumeci on Sunday.

Search teams pulled the body of a young girl from her family home as they dug through mud for a second day in the search for people still missing after an enormous landslide on the Italian resort island of Ischia.

The Naples prefect confirmed that the death toll in the tragedy had risen to two, following also the recovery of the body of a 31-year-old woman from the island a day before.

A wave of mud and debris hit the small town of Casamicciola Terme early on Saturday morning, engulfing at least one house and sweeping cars down to the sea, local media and emergency services said.

More than 200 rescuers are still searching for a dozen missing people, while hundreds of volunteers, and others, up to their knees in mud, are busy cleaning the streets of the town.

READ MORE: One dead, many missing in landslide on Italian island

Lack of maintenance

The peninsula, off Naples, is no stranger to states of emergency following earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or severe weather.

Casamicciola Terme, a spa resort of 8,000 inhabitants in winter on the lush island of Ischia, near Capri, was hit by an earthquake in 2017 that killed two people.

It was completely destroyed by a much more powerful earthquake at the end of the 19th century.

Saturday's landslide was caused by a lack of maintenance and prevention "because nature is nature, there was an earthquake, but a bit of prevention" could have saved lives, Salvatore Lorini, 45, told AFP news agency.

"The mountain came down, there was devastation of shops, cars, hotels and that was already happening nine years ago. Now I am cleaning my mother-in-law's shop," Lorini said

READ MORE: Quake hits Italian holiday island killing at least two people

Source: TRTWorld and agencies