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Colombia landslide: Single deadliest event since 1999

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The recent tragedy in Salgar, Colombia, appeared to be the single deadliest event since a 1999 earthquake in the city of Armenia that left hundreds dead.

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The recent tragedy in Salgar, Colombia, appeared to be the single deadliest event since a 1999 earthquake in the city of Armenia that left hundreds dead. A wave of flooding during the 2011 rainy season left more than 100 dead.

If foreigners or tourists are among the victims it is not yet known.

Today Rescuers searched for more bodies to aid the hundreds of survivors of a deadly flood and mudslide triggered by heavy rains that swept through a Colombian town, carrying away homes and people.

The avalanche of mud and debris roared through an alpine town of Salgar before dawn Monday, killing at least 58 people, but authorities said an undetermined number of people were still missing.

Survivors recalled being stirred from their beds by a loud rumble and neighbors’ shouts, barely having enough time to gather their loved ones as modestly built homes and bridges plunged into the Libordiana ravine.

Dozens of rescuers supported by Black Hawk helicopters on Monday evacuated residents near the ravine for fear of another mudslide. A red fire truck could be seen hauling away several bodies, their bare feet dangling from an open trunk.

The National Disasters Unit confirmed 58 people had been killed and 37 injured. An undetermined number of people were missing.

The flooding destroyed the town’s aqueduct and even areas in less hazardous zones experienced flooding. Authorities provided water, food supplies and blankets to help residents cope with what they described as a humanitarian emergency.

Colombia’s rugged topography, in a seismically active area at the northern edge of the Andes, combined with shoddy construction practices, has made the country one of Latin America’s most disaster-prone. More than 150 disasters have struck the country over the past 40 years, claiming more than 32,000 lives and affecting more than 12 million people, according to the Inter-American Development Bank.

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About the author

editor

Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.