Many dead, dozens injured in Colombia landslide

2015-05-18 22:04

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Bogota - A landslide sent mud and water crashing onto homes in a town in Colombia's northwest mountains on Monday, killing at least 48 people and injuring dozens, officials said.

"The earth slid into the course of the La Liboriana ravine, then the dammed water caused an avalanche which destroyed everything in its path" in Salgar in Antioquia department, regional police commander Jose Angel Mendoza said in an interview.

"We have 48 bodies in the morgue; 27 injured people have been attended to and the search for various missing people continues," Carlos Ivan Marquez, the director of the national disaster unit, told journalists.

Rescue teams, including search dogs, were being mobilized in the area, he added.

Photographs released by the country's air force and television news footage showed homes and streets covered in mud and debris in the town in a mountainous area close to the Colombian Andes.

Residents were shown digging through rubble with sticks and their hands, looking for survivors.

"People that you knew, children, young people, whole families lost their homes. We're on alert because there are fears there could be another landslide," resident Maria Gutierrez told local media.

"It almost gave me a heartache. We saw big waves and people and pigs going down in the water."

President Juan Manuel Santos, who is enroute to visit the town, said via Twitter that Colombia's government will provide aid to the victims.

"We are attending to the emergency in Salgar. Those affected will receive all our support."

Additional but less intense rain is expected over the next two to three days, meteorology officials said.

Read more on:    colombia  |  weather

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