Colombian landslide kills 17, seven missing

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   April 21, 2017 at 7:59 AM

April 21 (UPI) -- Colombian officials said at least 17 people died after a landslide in the city of Manizales, where rescue efforts were inhibited by ongoing rain.

Manizales Mayor Octavio Cardona said at least seven people are missing, 500 families are affected and 100 homes have been damaged by the landslide that occurred early Wednesday. Cardona said a month's worth of rain fell in one night.

Rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday slowed down search and rescue workers, but Cardona on Friday said there was no rain overnight.

"We have seen so much solidarity and willingness to cooperate on the part of the Manizalenos which, from this corner, we have to say thank you," Cardona said in a statement. "Thank God it did not rain during the night. The climate is a great help for rescue and recovery efforts to continue."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to Manizales on Wednesday to show his support.

"I'm going to very closely follow developments in the situation in Manizales. Our commitment is to ... help the affected," Santos said in a statement.

Santos said he fears the death toll could increase. Officials suspended water, electricity and gas services to the affected areas.

"Our solidarity to Colombia, to the people, families and government of Manizales," Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro said in a statement.

The landslide in Manizales follows a deadly mudslide in the Colombian city of Mocoa in which more than 250 people died early April.

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