At least eight people are dead and about 20 missing in the aftermath of landslides caused by heavy rain in central Colombia, authorities say.
Civil defence director Jorge Diaz told the Colombian news programme Noticias Caracol TV on Tuesday that the dead include two children. He said rescue efforts were ongoing after mudslides hit the Quetame municipality south of the capital, Bogota, late on Monday.
“Relief agencies with drones are resuming the search,” Quetame Mayor Camilo Parrado said, adding that some households had lost “two, three, even four family members”.
Several homes were destroyed and a major trade route was clogged with mud. It was piled high throughout the area and has complicated search efforts. Firefighters have evacuated dozens of people, and six have been transported to hospital.
Videos shared on social media showed debris and mud strewn around Quetame, which is located in the Cundinamarca department.
La muerte que llega a Quetame, Cundinamarca, demuestra la imperiosa necesidad de ordenar el territorio alrededor del agua y liberar sus espacios.en los Planes POT de los municipios. Alcaldes y alcaldesas deben priorizar este principio.
Mi sentido pésame a las familias víctimas
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) July 18, 2023
Diaz said the mudslide had covered a section of road that connects Bogota to the southeast of the country and is one of the country’s primary transportation routes. The blockage occurred at a toll post about 60km (37 miles) from the capital.
President Gustavo Petro offered his “condolences to the families of the victims” in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
Colombia’s rainy season, which typically stretches from June until November, claims numerous victims each year. During the rainy season in 2022, about 300 people were killed due to flooding.