At least 11 people have been killed and a dozen injured after a landslide in a mining area in northwestern Colombia, authorities reported Thursday.
An “unspecified” number of people are still missing due to the landslide in Abriaquí municipality, which was caused by heavy rainfall, said the risk management agency in Antioquia (Dagran).
Most of the victims are believed to be miners who worked at an unofficial gold mine covered by the landslide in an uninhabited area of Abriaquí, the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said.
Authorities are moving toward the site to support emergency services and assess possible damage to infrastructure, Dagran said.
“This situation fills us once again with grief. Last Monday, we stressed that these events will continue to occur and we can not avoid them because they are natural phenomena, but we can avoid loss of human life,” said Dagran’s director. Jaime Gomez.
“We are in the rainy season, so people who live or have activities on the banks of rivers must not be near these tributaries. Risk management is a matter of co-responsibility for all Colombians, and it depends on all of us do what we can to protect life, ”Gomez said.
Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria said on Twitter that he would meet with his cabinet and then travel to Abriaquí after what he called a “painful tragedy.”
President Ivan Duque expressed his solidarity with the families of the victims on Thursday, saying that relief organizations are involved in search operations with the disaster agency.
“We are providing the necessary assistance to care for the victims of this tragedy caused by the last few hours of heavy rain. We will maintain permanent monitoring of the situation,” Duque tweeted.
Landslides are common in Colombia due to the mountainous terrain, frequent heavy rains and poor or informal construction of houses, Reuters reported.
The rainy season, which began on March 16, has already wreaked havoc on more than 9,000 people across the country, the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said.
By then, in early February, 15 people had died and 35 were injured in a landslide in the western city of Pereira.
And in 2017, at least 254 people were killed by mudslides in the southern city of Mocoa.