Hundreds dead in Colombia floods & landslides

Families and rescue teams in Putumayo province are scrambling to find victims of flooding and landslides that have killed over 250 people and injured hundreds.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Rescuers in Mocoa look for bodies in a destroyed area on Sunday.

Families and rescuers in Colombia are continuing to search for victims of floods and landslides that have killed at least 254, injured hundreds, and devastated entire neighbourhoods.

Heavy rains caused several rivers to overflow near the southwestern city of Mocoa in the early hours of Saturday, sending water, mud and debris crashing down streets and into houses.

"The children worry us a lot. More than 40 who died have been identified. About 22 or 23 have been admitted to hospitals. One of the problems, which we are keen to resolve as soon as possible, is finding their parents," said President Juan Manuel Santos.

Volunteers and firefighters found 82 bodies downstream in the town of Villagarzon.

But many corpses were still caught in debris, they said.

TRT World'Ben Tornquist has the latest on the story.

President blames climate change

Santos said on Sunday the pain would not go away, but ensured it would be possible to bring back hope.

He previously blamed climate change for the disaster, saying Mocoa had received one-third of its usual monthly rain in just one night, causing the rivers to burst their banks.

Disaster officials said more than 500 people were staying in emergency housing and social services had helped 10 lost children find their parents.

Families of the dead will receive about $6,400 in aid and the government will cover hospital and funeral costs.

Source: 
TRTWorld and agencies