Rescuers clawed through piles of mud and twisted debris Sunday searching for survivors after violent mudslides destroyed homes in southern Colombia, killing over 200 people and injuring hundreds more.
They were the latest victims of deadly floods and mudslides that have struck the Pacific side of South America over recent months, also killing scores of people in Peru and Ecuador. In the southwestern Colombian town of Mocoa a sudden surge of mud and water swept away homes, bridges, vehicles and trees, leaving piles of wrecked timber buried in thick mud. The mudslides slammed Mocoa late Friday after days of torrential rain in the Amazon basin area town of 40,000.
“The latest information we have is that there are 206 people confirmed dead, 202 injured, 220 missing, 17 neighborhoods hit hard,” Colombian Red Cross chief Cesar Uruena told AFP. On Sunday President Juan Manuel Santos is set to return to the town, the capital of Putumayo department, with cabinet ministers to supervise rescue efforts in the heavily forested region.
Santos met with rescuers and survivors in Mocoa on Saturday, and declared a public health and safety emergency to speed up rescue and aid operations.
MOCOA, (AFP) ,April 2, 2017