14 December 2011

New landslide(s?) in Colombia – 15 people reported killed

Posted by Dave Petley

Over the last 18 months rains in Colombia have extracted a very high toll, with widespread landslides and floods.  Unfortunately, the start of the next rainy season appears to be continuing this pattern.  LAHT reports that:

“At least 16 people may have been buried in three mudslides in an isolated part of the southwestern Colombian province of Nariño, an official told Efe on Tuesday.  The number of missing people corresponds with reports from residents of the village of Moncayo, where the landslides occurred on Monday night, the provincial government secretary, Fabio Trujillo, told Efe by telephone.”

And Colombia Reports is stating a similar impact, although note the different area:

“Families living in three houses in La Cruz, in the Atlantico department, northern Colombia, have been buried by a landslide, Colombian media reported Tuesday.  Emergency services are trying to reach the 16 people who are trapped but landslides have also blocked roads. Heavy rains are further hampering the rescue attempt.  La Cruz mayor Alexander Realpe said the situation in the town remained critical, and it was not appropriate to expose rescue workers to such extreme risk. He warned the town’s Mayo River was close to overflowing, which could cause more avalanches.”

At the moment the latter report appears to be more credible, as it is backed up by a more detailed description (in Spanish) in El Tiempo, which suggests that the landslide did indeed occur at Moncayo in La Cruz, which is in the north of the country.  It appears that this site had undergone a series of landslides over the last few weeks, such that many people had been evacuated.  It is unclear as to whether these victims chose not to leave the site, or had returned after being evacuated.