Colombians officials: recovering 30 bodies from mudslide will take a week

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Colombian officials put mudslide death toll at 30

BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombian rescue officials said Tuesday it will take at least a week to unearth about 30 people who were buried by a landslide as many changed from one bus to another on a mountain road blocked by a previous slide.

“There are no survivors, that’s for sure,” the regional disaster relief chief, John Freddy Rendon, told The Associated Press.

President Juan Manuel Santos visited the scene Tuesday between the towns of Giraldo and Canasgordas in Antioquia state northwest of Bogota.

“The situation is very difficult,” he told reporters as rescue teams with sniffer dogs probed the tons of earth under which Rendon said were buried victims that included children, pregnant women and the inhabitants of five houses.

Witnesses described a roar as first rocks and then earth swept over the road Monday afternoon. Amateur video shows the slide bearing down and scouring away the houses.

Heavy rains in recent weeks across Colombia have triggered flooding that has claimed at least 74 lives.

Meteorologists attribute the rise in precipitation over the Colombian Andes to the “La Nina” climatic phenomenon, which is caused by a cooling of adjacent waters in the Pacific Ocean and is expected to persist into early 2011.

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