CORINTO, Colombia – An infant and three other people died in the southwestern Colombian town of Corinto after a river burst its banks, the governor of Cauca province confirmed on Wednesday.
Besides those four deaths, 26 others are injured and 18 remain missing, Oscar Campo said.
The disaster began on Tuesday at around 6:10 pm when torrential rains caused the La Paila River to overflow, flooding several neighborhoods in Corinto, a municipality that is home to 32,000 people, and devastating some rural areas.
The floodwaters also destroyed 37 homes, although that number could rise given the scale of the catastrophe in the La Colombiana, La Playa and Esmeralda neighborhoods and the nearby hamlets of Carrizales, Pedregal and El Tablon.
Emergency teams launched a clean-up effort and a search for the missing early Wednesday.
The Colombian Red Cross said 256 people were receiving medical treatment and being provided with meals at the town’s sports facility.
President Juan Manuel Santos, for his part, urged people in areas particularly hard hit by Colombia’s rainy season to heed authorities’ recommendations
“Once again, as we’ve been saying for weeks and months, please follow the recommendations of the authorities. The authorities are prepared. They all have specific instructions. There are protocols,” Santos said.
Elsewhere, heavy rains left a dozen neighborhoods in the central city of Manizales without water service and forced several families to evacuate.
A torrential downpour also triggered a mudslide on the road that links the northeastern Colombian cities of Bucaramanga and Cucuta, where the main border crossing into Venezuela is located.