ColombiaOne.comColombia newsTragedy in Colombia: 36 dead in Two Days of Rescue Efforts

Tragedy in Colombia: 36 dead in Two Days of Rescue Efforts

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Tragedy Colombia
Tragedy in Colombia: 36 dead in two days of rescue efforts – Credit: @Ejercito_Div7 / X

After two days of rescue work in the road landslide tragedy in Choco, Colombia, the death toll has risen to 36. The last victim, a man was found yesterday afternoon, buried by the mudslide. The national police estimate that seven people are still missing and it is feared that the death toll may rise.

The Colombian National Army announced that 130 uniformed members of the Armed Forces will continue working in the search and rescue of the missing persons in the area of natural disaster, a rural area of El Carmen de Atrato, in the department of Choco.

To guarantee the activities in the affected territory, the army assigned unmanned aircraft, dogs, and expert personnel in disaster response. The search went on yesterday until 6.00 pm and resumed today, Monday, January 15, at 6.00 am.

Six minors among the victims

Of the total of 35 deaths confirmed by the authorities, six of them are minors, which adds to an already tragic situation. From a provisional death toll of 23 on Friday night, it quickly rose to 33 on Saturday and to 36 late last Sunday night.

The search for missing persons resumed this morning, and the final figure is expected to rise even further. Authorities and witnesses of this tragedy estimate that most of the victims are people who were sheltering from the rain in a house in the area when the earth fell on them. In fact, a video was released showing at least 50 people, minutes before the landslide, in the corridors of the house that ended up buried.

President Petro visits the area

President Gustavo Petro visited the area after declaring a natural emergency. This decree will allow the transfer of “half a billion pesos to finish the road this year and carry out the safety works that were never contracted in 20 years”, said the president.

“Unfortunately, today we once again have too many deaths…. due to a chance occurrence, but which does not mitigate the fact that there must be risk management in areas that we know are critical,” added the president, who linked the 20 years of allegedly scarce investments by the State with the magnitude of the tragedy.

The president, who was accompanied by his cabinet to the disaster area, announced the creation of an air bridge between Quibdo and Medellin, while the road remains cut, besides assuring that the families of the victims will receive direct assistance from the government.

Tragedy Colombia
President Gustavo Petro visited the disaster zone – Credit: @petrogustavo / X

The search effort could be prolonged

The search tasks were initially planned for three days. Now, according to statements made by Carolina Cordoba-Curi, governor of Choco, they could be extended for a longer period, as defined by the protocols. Regional officials emphasized that the technicians insist on the instability of the terrain and the imminent risk in the area, for which reason traffic restrictions are being prolonged.

Departmental authorities have confirmed a meeting with the country’s Presidency, next Thursday, January 18, to analyze the situation in Choco due to the heavy rains of the last days.


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