Colombia Mudslide: Over 100 Children Among 312 Dead


Bogota: The giant mudslide that devastated the Colombian town of Mocoa last week killed 312 people including 102 children, the country’s government said on Friday.

The mudslide hit a week ago after the heavy rains caused three rivers to flood, sending a sea of mud, boulders and debris crashing into the town.

In the latest report on Friday on number of deaths, the National Disasters Risk Management Unit said 332 people were injured and at least 4,506 left homeless.

More than 300 people remain missing, President Juan Manuel Santos said earlier.

Of those, the disasters unit said that four were foreigners: an Ecuadoran, a Spaniard, a Briton and a German.

Mocoa, the capital of the department of Putumayo, was home to 70,000 people, about 45,000 of whom were affected by the disaster, according to the Red Cross.

In an effort to speed up reconstruction, the government has declared a 30-day state of economic, social and ecological emergency in Mocoa.

The measure allows the direct contracting of services without the need for formal, more time-consuming procedures.

The hardest-hit areas were impoverished neighborhoods populated by residents uprooted during Colombia’s five-decade civil war.

The mudslide turned Mocoa into a wasteland of earth, boulders and debris.

Many survivors have had to take the disaster response effort into their own hands, clawing through the mud for their loved ones, digging their graves themselves and defending what belongings they have left from looters.

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