Posted by News Express | 1 April 2017 | 2,074 times
More than 100 people have been killed and hundreds more are missing after torrential rains triggered mudslides in southern Colombia.
President Juan Manuel Santos told reporters on Saturday that at least 112 people were confirmed dead after a river flooded on midnight Friday in Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo, near the country’s border with Ecuador.
The Colombian army said in a statement that heavy rains caused the Mocoa River and its tributaries to flood causing a “big avalanche”.
The Red Cross said 180 people were injured and warned the death toll could rise further because at least 200 people were still missing.
Sorrel Aroca, the governor of Putumayo, called the development “an unprecedented tragedy”.
There are “hundreds of families we have not yet found and whole neighborhoods have disappeared,” he told a local radio station.
“People do not know what to do . . . there were no preparations” made for such a disaster, Hernando Rodriguez, a 69-year-old resident told the AFP news agency.
Videos and pictures uploaded to Twitter showed wood planks, mud and piles of rubble from destroyed buildings littering Mocoa’s streets.
Carlos Ivan Marquez, the director of the national disaster agency, said a crisis group, including military units, police and rescue teams, had been activated to search for the missing people, as well as begin removing hundreds of tons of debris.
Several deadly landslides have struck Colombia in recent months.
A landslide in November killed nine people in the southwestern rural town of El Tambo, officials said at the time.
Another landslide the month before that killed 10 people in the north of the country.
•Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies. Photo by Colombian Army/AFP shows soldiers engaged in rescue operations in Mocoa, Colombia, after the mudslides.