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Death toll in landslide in Colombia rises


A landslide in the southwestern Colombian province of Putumayo has left homes with tons of mud and debris dumped overnight, killing at least 254 people and injuring dozens, officials said.

Heavy rains have caused flooding of several rivers to flood water, rubble and roads in the provincial capital Moka, paralyzing traffic after mud rises for several feet.

President Juan Manuel Santos flew to Moko, a city of 345,000 people, to oversee rescue efforts in the suburbs and talk to affected families.

Even in a country where heavy rains combine with the mountainous nature and indiscriminate construction of homes to make landslides common, the magnitude of the disaster in Mwawa is appalling. By comparison, a landslide in 2015 killed nearly 80 people in Salgar, Antioquia province.

"It's a big area ... the landslide has surprised a lot of houses," Jose Antonio Castro, mayor of Moqua, told local Caracol radio.

He said people had been warned long enough and many had managed to get out, but the destruction had hit several neighborhoods and bridges.

Photos released by the air force on Twitter showed streets filled with mud and damaged houses, while video footage from mobile phones and posted on social networking sites showed residents searching for survivors amid rubble

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