Colombia landslide leaves more than 200 dead after ‘avalanche of water’ destroys city

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REFILE - QUALITY REPEAT A man looks at a destroyed area after heavy rains caused several rivers to overflow, pushing sediment and rocks into buildings and roads in Mocoa, Colombia April 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

More than 200 people have been confirmed dead and 400 others injured after a surge of mud and water from three overflowing rivers swept through the city of Mocoa in Colombia. 

Flooding and mudslides in the Colombian city sent gushes of water and debris crashing onto houses in the early hours of Saturday morning.

A state of emergency was declared as hundreds of family homes were destroyed and more than 250 were believed missing.

President Juan Manuel Santos announced the rising death toll last night as rescuers continued to search for the missing.

The ‘avalanche of water’ through Macoa near Colombia’s southern border with Ecuador caught many people asleep in their homes off guard, leaving them little time to escape.

A man who escaped with his wife and 7-month-old baby after a nearby river overflowed said there was hardly any time to flee before the water came rushing in.

Eduardo Vargas woke up to the sound of neighbours banging on his door and quickly fled with his family amid the sound of people crying in panic.

They climbed up a small mountain to safety before their home was destroyed.

Returning to the site yesterday night, he said: ‘There is nothing left. But thank God we have our lives.’

President Santos blamed climate change for triggering the avalanche, saying that the previous night’s rain was almost half the amount Mocoa normally receives in the entire month of March.

With the rainy season in much of Colombia just beginning, he urged local and national authorities to redouble their efforts to prevent a similar tragedy.

For more pictures click here…... Avalanche in Colombia

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