Colombia declares a state of emergency after mudslide kills 273
Colombia declares a state of emergency after 273 people were killed following mudslides in the south-west of the country.
The Putumayo province was devastated after three rivers heavy rains caused three rivers to burst its banks.
The city of Mocoa has been left in ruin, as mudslides have destroyed whole neighbourhoods leaving many people buried.
Mayor of Mocoa, Jose Antonio Castro, told Caracol radio that the city was “totally isolated” without electricity and water.
The Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has travelled to the area and troops have been deployed to help the rescue effort.
He told Colombian media that the government will ‘initiate all humanitarian procedures and attend of course to all its victims.’
Efforts have started to bury those who died as rescuers continue to search for victims of the mudslide.
However, efforts of rescue services have been hampered by ongoing bad weather and damaged infrastructure.
The state of emergency was declared following heavy rain in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The area had experienced 130mm of rain overnight; the average monthly rainfall in the region is 400mm.
This led to the rivers Mocoa, Sangoyaco, and Mulata to flood and send mudslides which destroyed houses and infrastructure.