Families living in three houses in La Cruz, in the Atlantico department, northern Colombia, have been buried by a landslide, Colombian media reported Tuesday.
Emergency services are trying to reach the 16 people who are trapped but landslides have also blocked roads. Heavy rains are further hampering the rescue attempt.
La Cruz mayor Alexander Realpe said the situation in the town remained critical, and it was not appropriate to expose rescue workers to such extreme risk. He warned the town’s Mayo River was close to overflowing, which could cause more avalanches.
Farmers living in the area had been evacuated several days ago but some of them had returned to their homes, according to Radio Caracol.
This year’s second rainy season has killed 134 people and affected more than 500,000, according to the Red Cross — and more people have died since that count was released last Wednesday. The government has been accused of failing to take adequate precautions, with multiple agencies arguing over who is to blame.
Ingeominas, the Colombian government’s geology and mining institute, said Monday the country’s topography combined with a lack of understanding of extreme weather put its population in permanent danger.