BOGOTA – Eleven people were killed when a mudslide caused by heavy rains swept across part of the central Colombian town of Marquetalia, authorities said on Thursday.
“Unfortunately the death toll rose to 11,” Mayor Luis Carlos Betancourt told EFE, adding that children were among the fatalities.
At least one person is missing, but the definitive number of people unaccounted for “is yet to be confirmed, because some people say it might be more,” Betancourt said.
The mudslide occurred in the Andes neighborhood of Marquetalia at around 2:30 am.
“The first report says there were seven affected houses, we’ve rescued a total of 28 people from those seven homes,” the coordinator of emergency services in Caldas province told EFE.
Felix Ricardo Giraldo said that 40 detachments of firefighters from Marquetalia and the neighboring towns of Manzanares and Pensilvania were working at the scene.
“We’ll meet in the morning with the (Caldas) governor (Guido Echeverri) in Marquetalia, where the situation will be evaluated, and we’ll decide on the measures needed for things to go back to normal,” he said.
Marquetalia is a town of roughly 15,000 people in eastern Caldas, 135km (83.8mi) from Manizales, the provincial capital.