Colombia Landslide: Death Toll Rises In Avalanche After Rivers Burst, Search Continues For Survivors [PHOTOS]

Rescuers look for bodies in a destroyed area, after flooding and mudslides caused by heavy rains. Photo: Reuters

At least 254 people have been killed and more than 400 injured in a landslide in the city of  Mocoa,  Putumayo,  Colombia. The deadly avalanche of water and mud took place on April 1 2017, in which heavy rains triggered flash flooding and landslides. An official said is the worst catastrophe in the history of Mocoa.

According to the government, President Juan Manuel Santos will travel to the area situated in the Andes Mountains; the same is notorious for deadly landslides. Santos announced on his Twitter account the death toll: “I am informed that unfortunately the death toll rose to 254. Our prayers are with them and their families,” wrote the 32nd and current President of Colombia.

As reported by ABC News, by the morning of April 2, approximately 1,300 rescue workers accompanied by trained dogs canvassed the area of the disaster, in which 43 children were among the victims. Officials reported electricity had been partially restored and they are working on a new aqueduct to bring potable water to the city.

On “Despierta America,” Colombian reporter Orlando Segura toll the audience the government offered a monthly payment of US$100 to the displaced people in order to pay their rent while they build new houses. He also ensured families who lost relatives will receive at least US$6,000.

The city is experiencing a commute and communication problem as the waters damaged the roads, however, the Ministry of Transportation reported that they will open a provisional road at kilometer 4, in the Mocoa-Pitalito lane.

Attorney Fernando Carrillo has also been at the forefront of the situation, especially for the children. The Delegate for the Defense of the Rights of Children, Adolescents and the Family, Sonia Patricia Téllez, is in the area coordinating actions to ensure the protection of children who lost their families, transferring some of them to shelters in Mocoa and Neiva.

Pope Francis, touched by the tragedy, sent a message of solidarity during a Mass in Capri, Italy. "I am deeply distressed by the tragedy that struck Colombia, where a gigantic avalanche of mud, caused by torrential rains, struck the city of Mocoa, causing numerous deaths and injuries," said the Supreme Pontiff. "I pray for the victims and assure our closeness to those who mourn the disappearance of your loved ones".

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, president of Peru, also said through his Twitter account: "President Santos has our support to address the emergency."

The army provided 63 vehicles, 10 helicopters, 7 boats, and 6 planes for the rescue operation. There is anguish for hundreds of missing people, for the same reason the Pio XII Educational Institution (Institución Educativa Pio XII) is asking to citizens to make the report of their relatives and friends to the Ombudsman's Office, which authorized two cell lines (315 5178563 and 3185922726) and the email grojas@defensoria.gov.co to deal with individual cases.

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