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Colombia, landslide in the city of Mocoa causes hundreds of victims

Heavy rains have sparked floods and landslides in the city of Mocoa, Colombia. At least 250 people have died and many are still missing.

A landslide has hit Mocoa, a Colombian city home to 40,000 people, flooding it with mud and debris. According to local sources, the accumulated rainfall in a few hours was almost one third of the amount normally accumulated over a month.

colombia mocoa
The landslide that hit the city of Mocoa, Colombia, left hundreds of victims © EPA/Leonardo Muñoz

Rescuers, including the Red Cross and more than 1,000 military men, are tirelessly working to find as many survivors as possible. The death toll is appalling though: at least 254 people died, of which 44 were children, while hundreds are still missing.

The landslide that hit the city of Mocoa, 500 kilometres south of Bogotá in the province of Putumayo and close to the border with Ecuador, was unprecedented. President Juan Manuel Santos reached the site of the tragedy, tweeting a video and declaring a state of emergency. According to BBC, the landslide struck at night, catching the inhabitants of Mocoa off guard.

The landslide in Colombia came just a few days after the flooding that brought the north of Peru to its knees, affecting more than 800 cities. The extreme weather events that are brutally hitting South America are thought to be linked to El Nino, which is causing temperatures and humidity levels to rise. 500,000 people had their houses damaged in Peru alone.

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