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Senin, 18 Mei 2015

Colombia landslides: fears death toll could grow as dozens killed

   At least 52 people were killed when a landslide sent mud and water crashing into a town in Colombia's northwest mountains on Monday.
Dozens were injured and officials fear the death toll in Salgar in Antioquia department could rise further.
"The earth slid into the course of the La Liboriana ravine, then the dammed water caused an avalanche which destroyed everything in its path," said Jose Angel Mendoza, the regional police chief.
"We have 48 bodies in the morgue; 27 injured people have been attended to and the search for various missing people continues," said Carlos Ivan Marquez, the director of the national disaster unit. The toll was later updated to 61 dead, 37 injured.
 
Mud engulfs Salgar (Colombian Air Force/Reuters)
Rescue teams, including search dogs, were being mobilised in the area, he added.
Photographs released by the country's air force and television news footage showed homes and streets covered in mud and debris in the town in a mountainous area close to the Colombian Andes.
The rush of mud and water "tore down everything in its path," Salgar Mayor Olga Osorio told RCN Radio.
The small town of Santa Margarita was practically "wiped off the map," she said.
Residents were shown digging through rubble with sticks and their hands, looking for survivors.
"People that you knew, children, young people, whole families lost their homes. We're on alert because there are fears there could be another landslide," said Maria Gutierrez, a resident. "It almost gave me a heartache. We saw big waves and people and pigs going down in the water."
President Juan Manuel Santos, who is en route to visit the town, said Colombia's government will provide aid to the victims.
"We are attending to the emergency in Salgar. Those affected will receive all our support."
Additional but less intense rain is expected over the next two to three days, meteorology officials said.
Colombia's tropical climate and mountainous landscapes make it prone to landslides.
In 2010-2011, heavy rains caused flooding and landslides that killed 1,374 people and destroyed more than 100,000 homes.

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