Heavy rains over the weekend left eight people dead and many roads blocked by landslides in what has been a record-setting rainy season across Colombia.
Eight people were killed in the department of Caldas. Five bodies have been recovered in San Daniel in the municipality of Pensilvania, which lies four hours from Manizales, while one person also disappeared from that location. A 4-year-old child in El Aguacate in the municipality of Marquetalia was killed when a landslide hit his home. His parents and sister were injured and taken to the hospital. Two elderly women were also killed when a landslide hit their home in Montebonito in the municipality of Marulanda.
The water for 14,000 people was cut off when an avalanche blocked the entrance to an aqueduct in the department.
In Caldas, 15 people have now died in this year’s rainy season. The department remains on yellow alert, and mayors are meeting to discuss the situation with the governor in the departmental capital of Manizales.
According to the Red Cross, the country-wide rainy season death toll climbed to 150 after this weekend’s rains.
The road between Bucaramanga and Cucuta is blocked by a landslide which has left hundreds of cars stuck on the road while workers clear the way between the capitals of the departments of Santander and Norte de Santander. Authorities are recommending travelers instead travel to Cucuta by way of Ocaña, which adds five hours to the journey between the two cities. This road, however, has also been affected by the rains and is restricted is some areas. One of the principle routes connecting Colombia and Venezuela, the road between Curos and Malaga, is also blocked.
Mayors from the Cauca Rivera in the department of Antioquia have called on both the departmental and national governments to provide sufficient emergency resources to the area and to help rebuild homes that have been destroyed by landslides.
In the department of Cundinamarca, it is estimated that 1,200 hectares of crops and 1,500 cattle have been lost in Mosquera. The losses, mostly in the flower industry, could reach COP60 billion ($32 million).
Colombian meteorology institute Ideam predicts that the La Niña weather phenomenon will stay active at least until the first trimester of 2011, bringing more rain over the next months.