A Devastating Mudslide In Colombia Has Left 254 Dead And Hundreds Missing Or Injured

At least 254 are dead with 400 people injured and 200 missing due to flooding and mudslides following heavy rains in Colombia. The military reported the figures as “1,100 soldiers and police officers” joined a search for survivors across 17 affected neighborhoods in the city of Mocoa according to The Guardian. Several images of the devastation were shared on social media, showing the extent of the damage after mud and sediment smashed into buildings and buried cars in the area.

“It was a torrential rainstorm, it got really strong between 11pm and 1am,” said local resident Mario Usale, 42, who was looking for his father-in-law in the debris. “My mother-in-law was also missing, but we found her alive two kilometers away. She has head injuries, but she was conscious.”

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos flew to Mocoa, population 345,000, to oversee rescue efforts on the city outskirts and speak with affected families. “We will do everything possible to help them,” Santos said after confirming the death toll. “It breaks my heart.”

Mudslides are a common threat in Colombia, but the tragedy in Mocoa is “daunting” compared to recent events according to The Guardian, but still pales to the 1985 Armero disaster that left 20,000 dead. Mocoa mayor José Antonio Castro noted that several houses were swept away, including his own, but early warnings prevented the incident from being far worse.

President Santos declared a state of emergency while forecasts called for more light rain on Sunday.

(Via The Guardian)