Death toll rises to 78 in Colombia landslide

Rescue operations continue in Salgar town of Colombia as death toll rises to 78 after landslides destroy town

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Death toll rose to 78 on Tuesday in Colombia as rescue crews continued to search for survivors after landslides swept Salgar municipality Antioquia on Monday.

Antioquia Governor Sergio Fajardo said 120 people were still missing and landslides left at least 542 people homeless.

“The search is still underway and the number of those missing could increase, but we will only provide information once the bodies are in the morgue and reported to the town’s authorities,” director of the Colombian National System for Disaster Risk Management Carlos Iván Márquez said.

President Juan Manuel Santos travelled to Salgar and pledged support to the victims.

“You know that we are with you, with all of the people of Salgar, we are there in heart helping and from here we are doing whatever we can to help,” Santos said on Tuesday.

The disaster happened at around 3am local time on Monday when La Liboriana river burst and destroyed the town after heavy rains in the area.

"It took my sister and my nephews and we haven't been able to find them," said Blanca Moreno, a resident of the Salgar.

The authorities said only 19 of the 78 recovered bodies have been identified so far.

Emergency response teams were delivering drinking water for the town’s residents as the landslides destroyed local water system.

Heavy rains were expected to continue in the area but authorities said another landslide is unlikely.

TRTWorld and agencies