Mudslide triggered by heavy rains in central-western Risaralda province leaves 14 dead and 35 others injured, officials say.

Several homes were destroyed in the impoverished Colombian municipality of Dosquebradas, officials say.
Several homes were destroyed in the impoverished Colombian municipality of Dosquebradas, officials say. (Reuters)

At least 14 people have died and 35 others injured in a mudslide triggered by heavy rains in Colombia, the national disaster management agency said.

The early morning rains touched off a landslide on a mountain in central-western Risaralda province, burying several homes in the impoverished municipality of Dosquebradas, officials said on Tuesday.

"Our updated report indicates that 35 people were injured, 14 lost their lives and one remains missing," the UNGRD disaster agency said on Twitter of the early morning landslide in the La Esneda neighborhood. 

Rescue efforts were ongoing, it added.

Rescue teams dug through the mud looking for survivors, said the agency, which earlier in the day reported seven deaths and 29 people injured.

"A very loud noise scared us. We went out and saw a piece of the mountain on top of the houses," taxi driver Dubernei Hernandez, 42, told the AFP news agency.

"I went to that place and it was a disaster, with people trapped."

Several families living close to the river were evacuated due to the risk of flooding.
Several families living close to the river were evacuated due to the risk of flooding. (AFP)

New mudslides feared 

Hernandez said he helped dig up two bodies and a survivor. He said at least five homes were buried by the mud.

The disaster agency published a photograph showing a gap in the lush green vegetation as a result of the mudslide.

Rescue teams said they feared new mudslides could result in the nearby Otun river being dammed, which would worsen the disaster.

Several families living close to the river were evacuated due to the risk of flooding.

"We are currently managing the entire evacuation perimeter because we still detect soil instability," Alvaro Arias, government secretary in Risaralda, told Blu Radio.

Landslides are common in Colombia due to the mountainous terrain, frequent heavy rains and poor or informal construction of houses.

The country's most recent large landslide disaster was in the city of Mocoa in 2017, when over 320 people were killed. 

Source: AFP