Colombia landslide death toll climbs to 206

Sunday, April 2, 2017

At least 206 people have died in southern Colombia as mudslides swept through the country’s Putumayo Province on Friday, with 220 people still missing officials have said.

The small provincial city of Mocoa, home to 40 000, was hit just after midnight as the muddy water tore quickly through the city streets.

The mudslide struck after days of torrential rain in the Amazon basin area caused rivers in the area, including Mocoa and San Buyaco, to overflow.

President Juan Manel Santos said 130 millimeters of rain fell in the area, which caused the rivers to overflow into the torrents that caused the mudslide. The monthly average is about 400 millimeters, he said.

Santos has declared a state of emergency.

The mudslide has come after months of floods hit the Pacific side of South America, which has also killed large amounts of people in Peru and Ecuador.

Army images from the area have revealed the moment that the surge swept away houses, bridges, vehicles and trees in the southwestern city of Mocoa.

At least 22 people were seriously injured in the mudslide and are being airlifted to nearby cities for treatment. The regional hospital in Mocoa has struggled to deal with the scale of the disaster, with the blood bank not being large enough to deal with the demand of victims being brought in.

The disaster has left a lasting legacy on the area, with many officials believing the mudslide to be the worst in recent Colombian history.