More than 90 dead, 200 injured in Colombia landslide

Cars and houses were damaged after a landslide in Colombia's south-western province of Putumayo. Rescue efforts in Mocoa are still ongoing (right) with an unknown number of people missing after heavy rain overnight caused several rivers to overflow.
Cars and houses were damaged after a landslide in Colombia's south-western province of Putumayo. Rescue efforts in Mocoa are still ongoing (above) with an unknown number of people missing after heavy rain overnight caused several rivers to overflow.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Cars and houses were damaged after a landslide in Colombia's south-western province of Putumayo. Rescue efforts in Mocoa are still ongoing (right) with an unknown number of people missing after heavy rain overnight caused several rivers to overflow.
Cars and houses (above) were damaged after a landslide in Colombia's south-western province of Putumayo. Rescue efforts in Mocoa are still ongoing with an unknown number of people missing after heavy rain overnight caused several rivers to overflow.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BOGOTA • A landslide in Colombia's south-western border province of Putumayo that sent mud and debris crashing onto houses has killed at least 93 people, a local police commander said yesterday.

"At this time, we have removed 93 bodies; we have adults, women and infants," Colonel Omar Bonilla told local radio station Caracol.

More than 200 people have been reported injured, and an unknown number are missing, reported the BBC.

Heavy rain overnight caused several rivers to overflow, sending mud and sediment onto homes and roads in the provincial capital of Mocoa, which has around 100,000 inhabitants.

"It is a very critical situation," Mr Carlos Ivan Marquez, the head of the country's disaster response team, told Caracol.

A witness told the radio station he fled his house in the middle of the night because of the rising river, reported Reuters.

Mobile phone videos showed residents searching for survivors in the debris of destroyed buildings in the province, which lies on the border with Ecuador and Peru. "It's a big area," Mocoa Mayor Jose Antonio Castro told Caracol.

"A big portion of the many houses were just taken by the avalanche, but above all, the people were warned with enough time and they were able to get out, but houses in 17 neighbourhoods have basically been erased."

Two bridges were also destroyed, Mr Castro said.

"The figures have been going up and in the crisis room they kept reporting more dead, we hope to God that (the death toll) will not go up too much because it is very sad."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos will visit the area, the government said.

Mr Santos said via Twitter that he was praying for the victims and had ordered immediate help for Mocoa.

Heavy rains and a mountainous landscape regularly cause landslides in the Andean country.

Since January, more than 90 people have died across the country because of unusually heavy rainfall, which also caused landslides and flash floods, reported the BBC.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 02, 2017, with the headline 'More than 90 dead, 200 injured in Colombia landslide'. Print Edition | Subscribe