ROME – A landslide moves a graveyard on the edge of a cliff in the Liguria region of northern Italy, scattering some 200 coffins and corpses across a hillside and into the Mediterranean.
Divers had recovered 12 coffins from the sea by Wednesday after the landslide in the town of Camogli, about eight miles north of Portofino, two days earlier. Most of the coffins were scattered around and under the rubble caused by the landslide.
Relatives of people buried in the cemetery gathered in the main square of the coastal town to get news and protest against what they said was neglect by local authorities.
“It was the only place I could go to see and talk to my dad,” said Clara Terrell, 66, who owns a shoe store in Camogli, in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Now I have nothing left.”
The landslide was likely caused by cliff erosion below the cemetery, exacerbated by storms that have hit the fragile Ligurian coast in recent years, according to the National Council of Geologists of Italy.
“This event has hit the community very hard emotionally,” said Francesco Olivari, the city’s mayor. Camogli. “The whole of Liguria is distinguished by these phenomena, and it was difficult to predict,” he said.
Landslide that occurred down the coast from Genoa where there is a bridge It collapsed in 2018 43 people were killed and sparked anger in Italy over lack of infrastructure maintenance and natural disaster prevention. Genoa prosecutors opened an investigation into the collapse of the cemetery.
“This is Italy. Even the dead cannot rest in peace,” one person Lamented On Twitter.
The landslide shows “the lack of maintenance that we geologists have condemned for years,” says Domenico Angelon, Secretary of the National Council of Geologists. He said in a statement. He added that despite their “high social, ethical and cultural value,” cemeteries were often built in unstable places and in recent years they had suffered from “a lack of interest.”
The town began work to cement the cliff near the cemetery, and in recent days the area was closed after officials noticed cracks and heard some “creaking”. Said Mr. Olivari, the mayor. Some locals have protested that they have reported cracks and problems in the tomb structure for years.
Lela Mariotti, a resident of Camogli, Post to Facebook A picture of cracks in the walls of the cemetery she said she sent the mayor in 2012. “I got no answer,” she wrote.
Ms Terrell said she wrote to City Hall in 2007 reporting cracks in the front of her father’s grave, but received no response. In 2019, she said, she reported more cracks, and the municipal council fixed them. Two weeks ago, on a visit to the cemetery, I noticed that the same cracks had reappeared.
She said, “I hope my parents are among the bodies they found.” “I don’t even have a place to get a flower anymore.”
The mayor, Mr. Olivari, said the town had provided psychological support to the affected families.
Regional authorities have sought help from the National Rescue Services since the search for coffins and bodies relied on safety on the cliff, which was at risk of further collapse.
Currently, divers can only rescue floating coffins at sea because most of the rest are buried under the rubble of a landslide, Giacomo Giampron, chief regional civil protection official, said.