BOGOTA – The death toll in the weekend mudslide that wiped away several neighborhoods in the Colombian city of Mocoa rose to 301 on Wednesday, the National Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences Institute reported.
The institute said that of the 301 confirmed dead, 173 have been identified, two of them as a result of the “family context” within which the bodies were found and 171 by their fingerprints.
The institute also said that there are seven autopsies scheduled for victims of the tragedy.
Earlier on Wednesday, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged that the mudslide also resulted in a large number of people who are still missing.
“This morning, 467 people have reported relatives to be missing. Of those, 153 have been located, 119 of them alive but, unfortunately, 34 of them deceased,” said Santos in a statement in Bogota in which he also announced new measures to deal with the catastrophe.
Although the president provided no concrete figures, the number of complaints suggests that there could be more than 200 people buried under tons of rocks and mud that swept into and over several Mocoa neighborhoods.
Meanwhile, a Colombian Red Cross official told EFE that the agency is seeking at least eight missing foreigners, three of them Spanish, about whom no word has been received since the night of the tragedy.