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News > Colombia

Death Toll Rises to 15 in Avalanche in Central Colombia

  • Authorities evacuated several families in the region due to the risk of new landslides. Jul. 19, 2023.

    Authorities evacuated several families in the region due to the risk of new landslides. Jul. 19, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@MariaFdaCabal

Published 19 July 2023

The avalanche recorded on Monday night destroyed a highway bridge that connects central Colombia with Villavicencio.

Colombian authorities in the department of Cundinamarca have confirmed that the death toll has risen to 15 after the avalanche that occurred in the village of Naranjal, Quetame municipality.

Avalanche in Colombia Leaves Six Dead and Several Missing

According to Álvaro Farfán, captain of the region's fire department, so far there is a balance of 15 people who were found dead and six injured who are already being treated in health care centers.

There are 13 people reported missing. Rescue teams suspended the search for survivors at nightfall on Tuesday, but the search was resumed early Wednesday in the hope of finding the missing, Farfan said. 

Soldiers from the Artillery Battalion of the XIII Brigade moved to the area to provide assistance to the victims of the emergency, while Army rescue troops and the canine commando Ulises collaborate in the search for the missing.

The tweet reads, "The Colombian Armed Forces in our commitment to the welfare and security of Colombians, we have made available our capabilities of the Colombian National Army and Colombian Air Force to provide support to the victims of the avalanche in Quetame, Cundinamarca."

On Tuesday afternoon, authorities evacuated several families in the region due to the risk of new landslides and the overflowing of creeks due to heavy rains.

The landslide recorded on Monday night occurred near a toll booth located some 60 kilometers from the capital. It destroyed a highway bridge linking central Colombia with Villavicencio (the capital of the Meta department), affecting some 6,000 travelers on one of the country's main freight corridors. 

According to the authorities, it will take between two and three weeks to repair the damage. The governor of the department of Meta, Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, has said that this road will remain closed while the structural damages caused by the emergency are evaluated.

The avalanche also affected the Quebrada La Honda aqueduct in Villavicencio, which supplies water to about 80% of the city. 

The rainy season in the South American country began in June and usually lasts until November. Last year it left some 300 dead and 700,000 people affected. 

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