Flood in Mesolcina, three missing and highway collapsed

Very serious damage, dozens of displaced people and three missing: it is the budget offlood that hit Mesolcinathe valley above Bellinzona (but already in the Grisons), on Friday evening.

The rescue services are still at work and are also hampered by traffic problems, with the interruption of the valley bottom cantonal road and also of the A13 motorwaydue to a subsidence of over one hundred meters of the roadway, halfway down the valley.

The most difficult situation is recorded in the area of Lostallo and in particular in core of Sorte, overwhelmed by mud and debris carried by the Moesa river and a lateral tributary.

Car carried by the river current, in the frame taken from a video

The center of Sorte was hit by a huge flow of debris: three houses were destroyed, others were damaged. There was no electricity for hours and there is still no running water.

The mayor of Lostallo, to which Sorte belongs, clarified that three people were missing: a woman who was missing was in fact found and taken to hospital. There are still no traces of a couple and an elderly woman.

In total there are around forty people displaced from Sorte, welcomed at the Lostallo gym. Until further notice, tap water is not drinkable.

Also significant is the interruption of the A13, the motorway axis that crosses all of eastern Switzerland. The stretch between Grono and Lostallo is not passable, due to the subsidence of approximately one hundred and fifty meters of the roadway (image from a RSI video, full video here)

Generic 17 Jun 2024

Traffic is complicated by debris and water in several places, other motorway junctions are also closed and the cantonal road is interrupted in several places. Mesocco cannot be reached from the south. The mayors of the area invite people not to reach the area and to give priority to rescue.

We are also looking for at least three cars overwhelmed by the floods: these are probably vehicles that were only parked, but it needs to be verified. A police car was also swept awaybut the officers and dogs – engaged in rescue operations – were saved.

The Mesolcina has been hit several times by floods: the threat has always been represented not only by the Moesa river, but by the lateral tributaries that descend from the steep slopes. Among the most serious floods were those of 1944 and 1978, the year in which landslides and floods also caused great damage in Valle Maggia, Locarno, Centovalli and the Italian Val Vigezzo.

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