A landslide in the Antoquia province in North West Colombia has killed over 50 people.
According to officials, heavy rains caused river Liboriana in Salgar, to burst its banks, triggering the landslide which caused mud, rocks and tree trunks to destroy many houses in several neighbourhoods.
Much of the Santa Margarita village was swept away in the disaster that hit on Monday, May 18, 2015. Gas and electricity services were suspended as part of precautionary measures.
According to Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, authorities were not sure of how many more people were still missing. Rescue teams and residents have gotten together to dig through the rubble hoping that there may still be survivors to be found.
President Santos declared a state of emergency while also promising to rebuild the houses when he visited the scene of the tragedy. He said; “We cannot bring the dead back, which we regret deeply, and we will support the families (of the victims), but we have to move on from this tragedy, and look ahead with courage and fortitude.”
“The priority now is the hospital,” said the president.
The Colombian Air Force and police have since sent helicopters to the area and also has more than 160 soldiers working in the emergency rescue effort. While about 100 people have been evacuated from areas considered to be high risk areas.
One local official Zulma Osorio described it as a “tragedy of enormous proportions”.
Jorge Quintero, a resident, who recounted his ordeal said; “When I felt my house shaking we got out, my family and me. When we got out, we were stuck in the middle of the landslide, it was coming from both sides and we were in the middle.
“I said to my wife, let’s hold each other and hope that God saves us and I know he gave us his hand because here we are, alive, still frightened, but still alive.”
More rain is expected in the area over the next few days.