Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi says he fears the death toll from the mudslides that have hit Sicily could rise to 50, as rescue teams continue digging through the mud. So far 20 people are known to have died when rivers of mud unleashed by heavy rains flooded parts of the Sicilian city of Messina.
Officials say that about 40 remain missing. Berlusconi was quoted as saying by the ANSA and Apcom news agencies that he feared that "at the end there will be at least 50 deaths." He could visit as soon as Saturday.
Continuing rain, making many roads impassable and the terrain still unstable, hampered rescue efforts. Luca Spoletini of the Civil Protection Department said two small towns were isolated and only reachable by air.