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Catastrophic Flooding Leaves More Than 250 People Dead In Colombia

Rescue efforts are underway to find the hundreds of people reported missing following flooding in the city of Mocoa.

Originally posted on
Updated on

Heavy rains caused the rivers to overflow at around midnight on Friday, destroying homes and uprooting trees while residents were asleep in their beds.

On Sunday, the Colombian military said 254 people had been killed, over 400 were injured, and an additional 100 people were still missing.

Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty Images

The death toll is expected to grow as more bodies are pulled from the rubble.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency and told reporters at the scene, "The first thing I want to say is that my heart, our hearts, the hearts of all Colombians are with the victims of this tragedy."

Santos blamed the tragedy on climate change and said the accumulated rainfall in one night was almost half the amount Mocoa normally receives in the entire month of March, the Associated Press reported.

Eduardo Vargas, 29, was asleep with his wife and 7-month-old baby when his neighbors woke him up.

Handout / Reuters

"There was no time for anything. Thank God we have our lives," Vargas told AP.

The family and their neighbors fled up a mountain until morning when they were rescued by the military. When they returned to the city, all that remained of their home was rubble.

Alicia Melville-Smith is a homepage editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Alicia Melville-Smith at alicia.melville-smith@buzzfeed.com.

Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2

Contact Talal Ansari at talal.ansari@buzzfeed.com.

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