The death toll has risen above 250 following a giant landslide that sent mud and debris crashing onto homes in southwest Colombia.
Hundreds more men, women and children are injured and missing, with a state of emergency declared in the region around the small city of Mocoa where hours of torrential rain caused rivers to overflow, triggering what has been called ‘an avalanche’ of muddy water.
The military has been deployed in a giant rescue operation and Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has travelled to the disaster zone.
Admitting authorities don’t know how many people are under the mud, he told reporters: “We continue to search. The first thing I would like to say is that my heart, our hearts and the hearts of all Colombians are with the victims of this tragedy.”
Landslides are not uncommon in Colombia but the scale of this disaster is daunting. And as efforts to find survivors continue, the fear and the warning is that the latest death toll of 254 is likely to rise further.