MESSINA, Italy, Oct. 2 (UPI) — Italy declared a state of emergency in the Messina area Friday where nine people died and 20 others were missing in flash floods and mudslides, officials say.
The heavy rains knocked down houses, leaving dozens of survivors waiting on their roofs to be rescued, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
Rescuers said mudslides cut off access to some of the hardest-hit areas forcing search parties to get to the victims by foot.
The first evacuees were loaded onto boats and flown out in helicopters as workers struggled to clear the roads, ANSA said.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International