Five Colombian departments have issued crisis alerts due to landslides and heavy rains brought on by the year’s second rainy season, Colombian media reported Monday.
One of the most affected was the northern department of Santander, where the Lebrija River and Magdalena river have overflowed.
“The areas most affected are the lower part of the Sabana de Torres and from Rio Negro, there are more than 400 homes totally destroyed and four bridges flooded, two of them where vehicles were operating,” newspaper El Pais reported Santander’s police commander said.
The department reported seven deaths, five of them children. Two of the children, aged four and six, drowned Sunday after a boat they were travelling in sank.
A 13-year-old died after a landslide buried his house in the town of La Esperanza. The child’s father remained hospitalized.
Meanwhile, a landslide on the road from Medellin to the western city of Quidbo left four people missing.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos traveled to the Risaralda department, where the San Eugenio river overflowed and destroyed over 20 homes, this weekend to discuss relief strategies.
The Red Cross has recorded 83 floods, 58 gales, and 2 landslides since the rainy season officially began on September 1. Twenty-five of Colombia’s 32 departments have been affected.
At least 26 people have been killed and more than 14,000 Colombian families remain vulnerable, the relief agency said.
This rainy season, which is expected to end in late November, remains less severe than last year’s seasons, which left 400 dead.