A devastating landslide in Choco, a province in the Pacific region of Colombia, has resulted in the death of at least 33 individuals, with many more injured, as reported by local authorities. The calamity was triggered by torrential rains, causing a landslide that swallowed a bustling municipal road linking the cities of Quibdo and Medellin.
Rescue operations were promptly initiated, with search teams and sniffer dogs deployed to the disaster site. Francia Márquez, the Vice President of Colombia, confirmed the death toll and stated that the search for victims, including children, is still underway. The landslide also consumed several vehicles.
The exact cause of the landslide is yet to be established, and the adverse weather conditions have posed challenges to the rescue efforts. The National Disaster Risk Management Unit initially reported 18 fatalities, with at least 35 injured individuals transported to nearby hospitals for treatment.
President Gustavo Petro expressed his government’s commitment to addressing the “horrible tragedy,” while Nubia Cordoba Curi, the Governor of Choco, underscored the anguish experienced by the impacted communities.
The Colombian police, supported by a specialized rescue team, have been successful in saving survivors and recovering bodies. In addition, 50 soldiers have been assisting in the rescue efforts, navigating through marshy terrain to reach the most affected areas. Forensic examiners in Medellin have commenced the process of identifying the recovered bodies.
This is not the first time the region has experienced such a disaster. In December 2022, a similar landslide claimed the lives of at least 27 people after the area had been subjected to intense rain for over 24 hours.
In the wake of this catastrophic event, authorities have closed the affected road and issued warnings about the risk of additional landslides. The Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies has cautioned about the ongoing potential for heavy rain in the area.
The tragic event underscores the susceptibility of mountainous regions to landslides during periods of heavy rainfall. Colombian rescue teams continue their search and recovery efforts, hoping to find any remaining victims.