Rescue operatives in Colombia have embarked on a grim search for likely survivors following the tragedy that hit the southwestern city of Mocoa, when mudslides triggered by an overnight rainfall swept through the vicinity, killing no less than 254 people with hundreds more said to be missing.
Search and rescue teams dug through muddy streets covered in thick sand, and tree limbs from the rivers and rainforest that surround Mocoa, the capital of Putumayo, near Colombia’s border with Ecuador.
Authorities say another 200 people, including many children, were injured and just as many remain unaccounted for amid the destruction.
“Rescue teams working here are telling us that 36 hours after these mudslides hit the town, nobody really hopes to find anybody alive,” Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti, reporting from Mocoa, said.
“They will continue, of course, searching for the missing bodies,” he added.
“In the meantime, a lot of the attention is going to the survivors; those who are alive but lost their homes. They are in need of clean water and food – just basic necessities.
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