At least 17 people were killed in a landslide in the southwestern Colombian province of Cauca, the country’s disaster relief agency said.
Five other people were injured by the mudslide which also damaged or destroyed several homes in the village.
The landslide, which was caused by heavy rain, occurred early Sunday morning in Rosas, a municipality in the Cauca department.
“There was some heavy rainfall around the past few days,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert said.
A large part of a mountain broke off, burying at least eight houses, the country’s disaster relief agency reports.
Columbia landslide kills at least 14 and injures five after heavy rain
A rescue operation is underway after a landslide in Colombia’s Cauca region buried housing and blocked the Pan-American Highway pic.twitter.com/vIl669FGrP— Lilian Chan (@bestgug) April 21, 2019
“While there will be the risk for a shower or thunderstorm each of the next several days, no widespread heavy rainfall is expected through at least the middle of the week,” Accuweather Senior Meteorologist Eric Leister said
The mayor’s office is providing shelter and a place for people to be reunited with their missing loved ones. The national army has been sent in to the area to help with the rescue efforts.
Una avalancha destruyó 7 viviendas en el municipio de Rosas en el Cauca y sepultó a familias que vivían allí. Hasta el momento hay 8 personas fallecidas y la vía Panamericana entre Popayán y Pasta está interrumpida. pic.twitter.com/IAIzN7FrAX— El País Cali (@elpaiscali) April 21, 2019
“This is a normally a rainy time for Columbia though, so it’s not out of the ordinary to get some heavy rainfall,” Reppert said.
“There will be an increased risk for downpours from Thursday afternoon into Saturday,” Leister said.
Landslides are common in mountainous Colombia, especially during the rainy season and in areas where precarious informal housing and narrow roadways are constructed on deforested Andean hillsides.
It is possible there are more victims buried in the mud and debris.
Colombia President Iván Duque visited the Rosas area on Sunday night.
“We arrived in Rosas, Cauca, to bring solutions and support to the community,” he said on Twitter. “We accompany them in this difficult moment, they have the support of the whole country.”