Mudslides kill four in Colombia, higher toll fearedNovember 17th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS
Bogota, Nov 17 (IANS) At least four people were killed in two mudslides in the aftermath of heavy rain in western Colombia, EFE reported Monday quoting officials who said the toll might rise.Three people died when they were buried under mud in Tolima province while another person was killed and 12 people were reported missing when a mudslide hit a neighbourhood in Medellin city, the capital of the northwestern province of Antioquia, officials said.
Medellin Mayor Alonso Salazar said the mudslide occurred in the upscale Cola del Zorro neighbourhood in southeast section early Sunday.
There was little hope of survival for the 12 missing whose houses were buried under tonnes of mud, Salazar said.
More than 600 people fled home in Tolima following the incident in the towns of Anzoategui, Venadillo, Libano and Santa Isabel, emergency management office director Luz Amanda Pulido said.
Road links between the western part of the country and capital Bogota was cut off as the entire stretch came under several feet of mud, officials said.
Food, medicines and other supplies have been airlifted to Anzoategui, Pulido said, adding that several helicopters had been deployed to assist in rescue and relief operations.
Celebrated actor Carlos Sanchez, who for more than 30 years portrayed the character of Juan Valdez, the peasant identified throughout the world with Colombian coffee, was unhurt in the mudslide that buried several condominiums in the Medellin neighbourhood where he lives, his family said.
His son Carlos told reporters that his father, mother and a sister were all unhurt in the incident.
Mudslides were also reported in Norte de Santander and Arauca provinces, which are on Colombia’s northeastern border with Venezuela.
At least 154 people have been killed and one million others have sustained losses from the rains in Colombia this year, the Disaster Prevention and Management Office said.