ROSAS, Colombia – The death toll from a landslide in Colombia at the weekend following heavy rains in Rosas, Cauca Department, has risen to 28 people, officials said on Monday.
“In collaboration with the PMU (Unified Command Post) of Rosas, Cauca, and the search teams for the last two days, we have already recovered 28 bodies,” the UNGRD risk and disaster management unit said on its Twitter account.
They also added that “the operation will resume in the morning (of Tuesday),” and that the State agencies were brought together to respond to emergency situations.
The downpour caused a hillside in the village of Portachuelo to collapse early on Sunday, burying eight houses while the residents were sleeping and completely cutting the Pan-American Highway, the main road in southwestern Colombia which connects the country to neighboring Ecuador.
The UNGRD said that it will “continue with the operations until those who are still missing are found.”
The number of missing people is still unclear and the aid agency and the Army are still searching for them.
So far the authorities have identified 16 of the 28 bodies recovered from the landslide.
Colombian President Ivan Duque traveled to Cauca on Sunday along with Minister of Housing Jonathan Malagon and Minister of Transportation Angela Maria Orozco.
On Monday, Duque traveled to Barbacoas, in the neighboring province of Nariño, where the Telembi river overflowed, flooding a large part of the city.
The head of state ordered “the rapid delivery of humanitarian aid with the strict supervision of the risk and disaster management unit” to begin on Monday.
After confirming that there were no deaths or injuries in Nariño, Duque warned that “we must prepare to minimize the risks in communities that are highly exposed to these hydro-climatological phenomena which are becoming increasingly common among many countries located close to the Equator.”
The director of the UNGRD, Eduardo Jose Gonzalez, said that “the aid consisting of 1,000 food kits, 1,000 sanitary kits, 200 cooking kits, 1,000 sheets of zinc and 200 mats have already been allocated.”
The UNGRD said in a statement that, according to weather forecasts, the rains “will continue at least until the first week of June, so it is important to follow the recommendations of the authorities to protect the life and integrity of the communities.”
“The alerts continue and remain red due to landslide issues for the provinces of Cundinamarca, Antioquia, Tolima, Boyaca, Huila, Santander, Cauca, Nariño, Meta and Caqueta,” he said.