Flooding and mudslides in the Colombian city of Mocoa sent torrents of water and debris crashing onto houses in the early hours of Saturday morning, killing 254 people. President Juan Manuel Santos flew to Mocoa to oversee rescue efforts and talk with affected
Heavy rains caused several rivers to overflow, pushing sediment and rocks onto buildings and roads in the capital of southwestern Putumayo province and immobilizing cars in several feet of mud.
“It was torrential rainstorm, it got really strong between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.,” said local resident Mario Usale, 42, who was looking for his father-in-law in the debris.
“My mother-in-law was also missing, but we found her alive two kilometers away. She has head injuries, but she was conscious.”
The army said in a statement that 254 people were killed, 400 people had been injured and 200 were missing. More than 1,100 soldiers and police officers were called in to help dig people out in 17 affected neighborhoods.
Santos gave a lower death toll of 193 via Twitter.