Mudslides in southern Colombia kill 112, hundreds missing

2017-04-01 20:01


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Bogota - Mudslides in southern Colombia have claimed at least  112 lives and injured more than 170 following recent torrential rains, the authorities say.

Governor Sorrel Aroca of the Putumayo department called the development "an unprecedented tragedy," telling a radio station that there were "hundreds of families we have not yet found and whole neighbourhoods are missing."

Carlos Ivan Marquez, director of the National Disaster Risk Management Unit, said that while "initially we are talking about 16 deaths," further fatalities were possible.

The mudslides were caused by the rise of the Mocoa River and three tributaries, he said.

President Juan Manuel Santos said he would travel to Mocoa, the Putumayo capital, to supervise rescue and assistance efforts in the heavily forested region.

His presence would "guarantee attention to the victims of this tragedy, which has all Colombians in mourning," he said in a Twitter message.

The authorities activated a crisis group including local officials, military units, police and rescue teams to organise the search for missing people and to begin removing hundreds of tons of debris, Marquez said.

Read more on:    juan manuel santos  |  colombia  |  natural disasters

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