MEDELLIN, Colombia – A tragic mudslide in the Pacific province of Choco, Colombia has claimed the lives of at least 33 people and left dozens injured, according to Colombian authorities. The disaster occurred when heavy rains triggered the landslide, engulfing a busy municipal road connecting the cities of Quibdo and Medellin.
Rescue operations were immediately launched, with search teams and canines dispatched to the scene. Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez confirmed the death toll and described the search for victims, including minors, as ongoing. Several cars were also completely swallowed by the mudslide.
The cause of the mudslide has yet to be determined, and the difficult weather conditions have hindered rescue efforts. The National Disaster Risk Management Unit reported that initially, 18 people had been pronounced dead, and at least 35 injured individuals were transported to the hospital.
President Gustavo Petro expressed his government’s support in dealing with the “horrible tragedy,” while Choco Governor Nubia Cordoba Curi emphasized the pain felt by the affected communities.
The Colombian police, aided by a specialized rescue group, managed to save survivors and retrieve bodies. Meanwhile, 50 soldiers joined the efforts, battling swampy terrain to reach the hardest-hit areas. Forensic examiners in Medellin have begun the process of identifying the recovered bodies.
The landslide in Choco follows a history of such disasters in the region. In December 2022, another landslide claimed the lives of at least 27 people. The area had been experiencing intense rain for over 24 hours prior to the incident.
As Colombia deals with the aftermath of this devastating event, authorities have closed the affected road and urged caution due to the risk of further landslides. The Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies has warned of the continuing potential for heavy rain in the area.
The loss of life and destruction caused by this mudslide once again highlight the vulnerability of mountainous regions during periods of heavy rainfall. Colombian rescue teams remain committed to their search and recovery efforts in the hope of finding any remaining victims.