Thursday, 28 May 2020

Colombian Landslide: Over 200 Die In Mocoa, Even More Missing

From El Tiempo

Landslides have killed at least 206 people in south-west Colombia and left many more injured, aid officials say.

Hours of heavy rains overnight caused rivers to burst their banks, flooding homes with mud in Putumayo province.

The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) said that at least 220 were missing, and another 202 were injured.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who travelled to the area, said troops had been deployed as part of a national emergency response.

From El Tiempo
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He declared a state of emergency in the region.

Reuters news agency said more than 1,100 soldiers and police officers had joined the rescue effort. One army officer said the main local hospital was struggling to cope.

‘The river has got us, help us please’

The region’s governor, Sorrel Aroca, told Colombian media that whole neighbourhoods had been buried.

Rescue services said their efforts had been hampered by continuing bad weather and damaged infrastructure.

From El Tiempo
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“There are mobility issues on almost 80% of the roads, and from where the road ends, it is three hours to where the landslide took place,” said one police officer.

Bridges have also been swept away.

Jose Antonio Castro, mayor of the provincial capital Mocoa, told Caracol radio that the town was “totally isolated”, without electricity and water.

From El Tiempo

On arriving at the scene, President Santos told reporters, “My heart and the hearts of all Colombians are with the victims of this tragedy.”

An alarm had sounded as the river’s levels rose, leading many people to leave their homes for shelter, and avoiding wider loss of life, Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper said.

The mudslides were caused by the rise of the Mocoa river and three tributaries, a representative of the National Disaster Risk Management Unit told AFP news agency.

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Rescue services said 17 neighbourhoods had been affected and Mr Castro said his own house had also been destroyed.

“The mud is up to the roof,” he told Caracol radio.

The region, bordering Ecuador and Peru, is heavily dependent on agriculture and the petroleum industry.

While landslides and heavy rains are common in the mountainous area, March was Colombia’s rainiest month since 2011, according to the state meteorological agency.

In neighbouring Peru, more than 90 people have died since the start of the year because of unusually heavy rainfall, which also caused landslides and flash floods.

Article originally appeared on Today Colombia and is republished here with permission.

Q24N
Q24N
Q24N is an aggregator of news for Latin America. Reports from Mexico to the tip of Chile and Caribbean are sourced for our readers to find all their Latin America news in one place.

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Article originally appeared on Today Colombia and is republished here with permission.