- Posted October 25, 2011 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Torrential Rain, Mudslides & Massive Flooding in Cinque Terre, Italy
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 - Heavy rain started in the morning when we left Monterossa and took the train to the neighboring town of Vernazza. As soon soon as we arrived at the train station we noticed slight flooding as the water bubbled up through the drainage outlets on the main street that runs through the center of Vernazza. By late afternoon, people began retreating to higher ground. And, at sometime between 3:00-4:00PM a giant wall of mud, water and debris raced down the mountainside into the heart of Vernazza. From our view at our rented apartment just below the castle, we could see this massive wave crash over the train station terminal (over 4 stories high) and wash away everything in its path. Cars, tables, chairs, telephone poles and small boats were immediately washed down the newly created river into the sea. Heavy rain continued on and off throughout the night. With electricity and water lines knocked out of service, many stranded tourists and locals retreated to the Ristorante Al Castello at the top of the hill next to our apartment. The owner, Monica, generously provided food and drinks to well over 100 people, asking nothing in return. Locals and tourists alike piled into nearby residences to seek shelter and sleeping quarters until daybreak. We awoke to sirens, church bells and helicopters flying above to access the situation. As the National Guard started lowering supplies and rescue workers into town, people began to gather at the sea wall to clear the debris clogging the drainage openings in the wall. By noon, many of the tourists (including my wife and I) were quickly evacuated into a boat because it was the only way out of town due to the fact that the roads and railways were heavily covered in mud and debris. Many of the tourists on board had to flee with whatever they could carry and the rescue boat eventually arrived in the nearby town of La Spezia. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the local residents who are in the process of rebuilding and recovering from this natural disaster that struck quickly and without much warning.