Disaster in Vernazza, Italy

Five people have died and eight are missing after torrential rain hit Italy's Tuscany and Liguria regions overnight last week. Rivers burst their banks and landslides devastated villages, local authorities said.  The worst-hit areas were the Spezia region and the Cinque Terre (Five Lands) tourist destination, where four people died.

I was saddened to learn of the landslide that occurred in one of my favorite picturesque towns of Vernazza part of the Cinque Terre in the Liguria region of Italy.   I can't believe the horrific appearance of the town after the slides ruined all streets and roads.   
Continue to see the photos...

On the left, are my photos from Vernazza and the current photos of the same area after the rains and landslides hit.  
Picturesque marina (left and lower right) is now a mess of mud and debris (upper right).  

My piazza photo the way it was then, and the current photos of dirt and mud that filled the area.

My photo of the main street was in better days then...now rubble and ruin.

My photos on the left.  The train station tracks were buried in debris.  Destruction and debris, right, after the slides.

Watch the video of the floods:
The rain kept pouring down until the village became a rushing river. The cars in the parking lot above town began to get swept up by the water. The strong current carried cars and trucks down into town like they were nothing but toys. Some locals looked on from their balconies with disbelief as their cars rushed by below them.
And the rain kept coming down…until the unthinkable happened. Around 3pm, the mountain above gave way and like a dirt tsunami, the earth plowed down, sweeping up everything in its path, pushing around the corner in a rush of flowing water, rocks, mud and cars. Smashing into the walls as the road turns and bottlenecks, a house collapsed from the pressure. The flow instantly eliminated the children’s playground before smashing into the bridge of the train station, burying the tracks and filling the second story tunnels with debris. The concrete and iron was no match for the fury of the landslide. It continued on, barreling down Via Roma, engulfing every business along the way, sparing nothing and no one.

Some people had to flee to avoid getting carried away; many made it to safety—some did not. Some saw their loved ones swept away before their very eyes. The raging landslide continued on, destroying what was left of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The monstrous earth poured into the piazza like a wild animal set loose and dumped all the cars, dirt, debris and boats into the sea.  Everything on the ground floor, from the top of the mountain to the end of the piazza is destroyed. The debris filled the narrow street of the village up to the second floor, burying the ground floor as if it never existed. With all the doors buried below 9-10 feet of debris, people needed to climb out of their windows and balconies to get out.
All roads in and out of Vernazza were washed away, the train tracks buried and people were left with no water, no gas, no electricity and no cell service. The outside world had no news, no contact, no information at all. In a terrifying wave of destruction, Vernazza had been completely severed from the rest of the world.
The following day, news slowly seeped into La Spezia, the nearby city, as a few survivors arrived by boat. Those of us with friends and family in Vernazza were aware that the storm had caused terrible damage, but we had no idea of the scope of devastation. Emergente boats were sent with first-aid supplies and drinking water. As word got out, volunteers started coming with boots, shovels and plenty of cigarettes.
By Friday, the Protezione Civile (Italy's version of a National Guard) started an organized response with registered volunteers, earth-moving equipment and rescue helicopters. For days and nights people have been working non-stop to dig Vernazza out of the rubble.  
Messages of support and love have poured in from all over the world. Facebook has been a great way for people to share information, photos and support.
Grazie Life In Italy and other news sources...


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