Rescue teams with drones searched for survivors Tuesday after a landslide triggered by heavy rains left at least 14 people dead and about a dozen missing in central Colombia, authorities said. Several homes were destroyed and a major trade artery blocked after torrential rains hit the Quetame municipality in Colombia’s Cundinamarca department late Monday.
Cundinamarca governor Nicolas Garcia said “14 lifeless bodies have been found” by lunchtime Tuesday, updating the earlier toll of eight.
Six rescued people were taken to hospital, he said in a video on Twitter. Earlier, regional civil defense director Jorge Diaz told AFP the dead included one child. Some 20 homes were razed in the deluge.
It has not been possible to quantify the number of missing persons, but there is talk of 11… We are trying to identify the people who lived in the 20 destroyed houses,” said Diaz.
It happened near a toll post some 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the capital, and destroyed a bridge. Large rocks and mud obstructed the road between Bogota and Villavicencio, an AFP reporter observed, with several trucks and motorcycles trapped. Quetame mayor Camilo Parrado said some households “lost two, three, even four family members.
Mud was piled a meter high, up to two meters in some places, Parrado told El Dorado Radio, making for a “very complex” search and rescue operation. Relief agencies with drones” were involved in the search, said the mayor.
The army announced it was deploying about 80 soldiers to aid in the search effort Firefighters have evacuated dozens of survivors . Many recent events in the region were influenced by La Nina “but also bore the hallmark of human-induced climate change,” it said. The UN agency cautioned that an El Nino event that has taken route in the aftermath of La Nina, will “bring with it more extreme weather.
Diaz said the landslide buried part of a road linking Bogota to the southeast of the country — one of the country’s main freight routes. On Twitter, President Gustavo Petro offered his condolences to victims’ families and said the disaster demonstrated the need to bolster infrastructure around at-risk areas.
The rainy season in Colombia started in June and usually lasts until November. Last year, seasonal flooding in the country left some 300 dead overall, including 34 people who died when an avalanche swallowed up a bus and other vehicles.
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