(Photo: Luis Robayo/Agence France-Presse)
Near midnight on Saturday April 1, Colombia’s city of Mocoa was shaken by a destructive mudslide which killed over 230 people, many of whom were asleep in their beds at the time. Later that day, President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency and the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management searched through the mud to find victims and survivors. In addition to the 234 found dead, 200 others were injured and large numbers remain missing.
President Santos tweeted about the disaster, “The tragedy of Mocoa hurts me as a president and as a human being. My heartfelt condolences to each family of the victims.” It is reported that doctors in Mocoa were overwhelmed by the number of patients and that hospitals were running low on blood supplies.
The Colombian Red Cross has deployed workers to help locate the remaining missing people. Its spokesman, Oscar Forero remarks, “In this moment, it’s chaos. There are many people missing.” He blames climate change for the mudslide, reasoning that the amount of rainfall Mocoa received that night was nearly 50 percent of the amount the city would normally get in a month.
Houses are buried under mud and the slide was so strong that it was able to rapidly carry trucks downstream. Currently, there is no electricity, clean water, or gasoline. “There’s not a single drop of drinkable water — we need water, that’s what’s urgent — and there’s nothing to eat,” Marisol González said to the newspaper El Tiempo.
Alanna Shingler Staff Reporter