Two people missing as landslides hit Austrian villages
Rescuers in western Austria were searching for two people Wednesday who went missing after landslides caused by heavy rains cut off access to several communities and waged widespread damage.
escuers in western Austria were searching for two people Wednesday who went missing after landslides caused by heavy rains cut off access to several communities and waged widespread damage.
“Three villages have been completely cut off… the army and firefighters are trying to clear the streets” to gain access, said Melanie Reiter, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Carinthia state.
Two people were reported missing, one who was travelling in a car, and another who was in a house garage hit by debris, district head Bernd Riepan said.
“We are fighting on several fronts,” he told AFP.
“We have dispatched several helicopters… but some of the farms are very remote, and they have yet to be reached.”
He added that “many” houses had been partially buried, though the exact number was not yet known.
Heavy rain overnight Tuesday sparked the landslides, sending mud and debris into populated regions and causing stream banks to burst in the mountainous Villach-Land district in Carinthia state, which borders Italy and Slovenia.
There were no immediate reports of injuries, according to officials, despite the widespread damage.
Photos showed debris-strewn streets and houses partially submerged in water and mud in Villach-Land.
Another community in adjacent Salzburg state was also put on alert as a stream passing through it was threatening to burst its banks, according to the Austrian news agency APA.
In some areas of the region it “rained as much in just a few hours as it does for the entire month for an average June,” said Gerhard Hohenwarter from the Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, as quoted by APA.
Austria is currently experiencing a heatwave in line with the rest of Europe, and authorities have warned of thunderstorms.
Experts say climate change is increasing the frequency and intensity of heatwaves and other extreme weather events.