Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 14:30 UK

Italy mudslide death toll rises


Aerial footage of the devastation

At least 13 people are now confirmed dead and more are missing after heavy rain triggered mudslides in the Italian city of Messina in northern Sicily.

The violent mudslides and flooding destroyed several buildings, swept away cars and blocked road and rail links.

Some of the victims were trapped when mud and debris engulfed their homes following the overnight storm.

Rescue dogs were being used in the search for survivors, Messina Mayor Giuseppe Buzzanca told Italy's Sky TV.

Some 40 people have been treated in hospital.

Helicopter rescue

Rescue workers have been digging through the mud to get to survivors and Mr Buzzanca urged doctors, nurses and volunteers to go to the stricken zone to help.

Rescuers carry a woman on a stretcher near Messina, southern Italy, 2 October 2009
Cut road and rail links have hampered rescue efforts

He said that as rescue efforts were being hampered because road and rail links were cut, some rescued survivors had to be taken out of the area by sea.

More than 100 people left their homes when the mudslides struck, officials said.

Others who took refuge on their roofs were rescued by helicopters.

But in places the water came so quickly that people did not have time to scramble out of their cars, says the BBC's Italy correspondent Duncan Kennedy.

At least one man died trapped in his vehicle.

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