Landslide buries 200 in Colombia
COLOMBIA: As many as 200 people may have been buried in a landslide
Sunday that swept over 10 houses near Medellin, Colombia's second
largest city, Red Cross relief workers said.
"The initial count is that there may be 150-200 people considered
missing. So far, we have rescued three alive," said Cesar Uruena, a Red
Cross operations deputy director.
"We are focused on moving rubble to see if we find survivors," he
The landslide struck the La Gabriela district of the town of Bello
north of Medellin, just after 1900 GMT.
Medellin lies 400 km (250 miles) northwest of Bogota. "The landslide
buried 10 houses, each of then with three stories. Because on Sundays
people usually have their family over for lunch, we think that on
average there were between 15 and 20 people in each house," Uruena
About 300 residents of the neighborhood rushed to search for missing
friends and many tried to help rescuers pull away the rubble, bit by
Antioquia Governor Luis Alfredo Ramos also was on the scene of the
tragedy. Medellin lies in a valley and many poorer neighborhoods of
sometimes precariously-built houses are stacked up the mountainsides
where they are highly vulnerable to heavy weather.
Faced with the dire situation, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
hurried home from the Ibero-American summit in Mar del Plata in
His government was weighing a state of emergency hoping to free up
more funds for the country's widespread weather and flood-related
"This is going to cost a lot of money," Santos said referring to
overall recovery effort. "Unfortunately, this tragedy has just kept
As of last week, the government estimated weather related damage at
more than 300 million dollars - before the weekend's disasters.
Colombia has been lashed in recent weeks by heavy rains that have
left at least 176 people dead and 225 injured, as well as 1.5 million
people homeless nationwide.
Medellin, Monday, AFP