Many people were reported dead after a massive landslide occurred in southwestern Colombia.
The disaster struck in the town of Rocas, Cauca province, on Sunday, April 21, 2019. According to recent updates, at least 17 people were confirmed dead and 5 more were hospitalized after suffering severe injuries. Moreover, 8 residences were destroyed and a section of Pan-American Highway was blocked.
Officials are still conducting a rescue operation in search of survivors into the debris.
The landslide was caused due to heavy rains that hit the region. Deforestation may have contributed to the failure. The affected area is prone to landslide incidents especially during rainy season.
Military units were sent to the region in order to aid rescue operations. The municipality has provided shelter for the affected people. "Unfortunately, this happens when you least expect it and, because of the rainy season that we have seen, this is what happens," Jesus Diaz, the mayor, commented on the incident.
The President of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, visited the site on Sunday, April 20. Mr. Duque ensured that medical assistance and housing is provided to the victims of the slide. "These are difficult times, but we are united as a country to help them," he posted on Twitter.
Concerning potential landslide incidents in the future associated with heavy rainfalls, Eric Leister, senior Meteorologist for Accuweather, claimed that a hazardous period will start at the end of this week. "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. There will be an increased risk for downpours from Thursday afternoon into Saturday," Mr. Leister stated.