Over 250 people are dead after mudslides devastated the Colombian city of Mocoa. Torrential rains caused several rivers to overflow, triggering the mudslides.
Yahoo News reports that in the early hours of Sunday morning, residents of Mocoa woke to water, mud, and debris crashing down on houses. People evacuated as quickly as possible, but 254 were killed in the ensuing chaos.
Residents are still trying to find missing loved ones among the debris.
"It was torrential rainstorm, it got really strong between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.," said local resident Mario Usale, 42. Usale was looking for his father-in-law among the broken buildings and downed trees.
In addition to the 254 people killed in the mudslides, 400 people have reportedly been injured. The Colombian government sent in soldiers and police officers to help in rescue efforts.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos flew to Mocoa to oversee the disaster relief process.
"We will do everything possible to help them," Santos said. "It breaks my heart,” he added, after confirming the death toll.
Although mudslides are fairly common in Mocoa, which has a population of 345,000, the recent mudslide was far worse than most. Mocoa’s mountainous landscape and makeshift homes increase the threat of mudslides.
Publication date: April 3, 2017