At Least 193 DEAD, 200 INJURED And 200 MISSING- Death Toll Expected To Rise

Handout picture released by the Colombian Army press office showing people helping to carry a woman after mudslides following heavy rains, in Mocoa, Putumayo department, on April 1, 2017.

An avalanche of water from three overflowing rivers swept through a small city in Colombia while people slept, destroying homes and killing at least 193 unsuspecting residents.

The avalanche of water destroyed homes in Mocoa and killed people while they were asleep.

The river flooded around midnight, catching unsuspecting residents off guard in the early hours on Saturday, according to Carlos Ivan Marquez with Colombia’s national disaster agency.

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Intense rainfall in the region triggered the tragic event which left at least 400 people injured and at least 200 missing.

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Muddy water and debris quickly surged through the city’s streets, toppling homes, ripping trees from their roots, lifting cars and trucks and carrying them downstream. Many of the residents did not have enough time to climb on top of their roofs or seek refuge on higher ground.

President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency and said the death toll will likely rise but warned against speculating how many people remain missing.

“We don’t know how many there are going to be,” he said of the fatalities when he arrived at the disaster zone to oversee rescue efforts. “We’re still looking.”

Witnesses described feeling buildings vibrate and though an alarm reportedly went off to alert residents it could not be heard throughout the city. Videos residents posted online showed vast areas filled with wood planks and debris. Some could be heard calling out the names of people missing.

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“In the middle of the night and this morning people lost loved ones,” Minister of Interior Juan Fernando Cristo said. “They lost families, boys, girls, young people, the elderly,”

The Red Cross planned to set up a special unit in Mocoa Saturday afternoon to help relatives search for their loved ones.

“In this moment, it’s chaos,” said Oscar Forero, a spokesman with the Colombian Red Cross. “There are many people missing.”

The slides washed away power stations, knocking out half of the electricity in the department of Putumayo, where Mocoa is located. The city’s water network was also destroyed.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ah6SKV8JqTs

(Source- Fox News)

This is a developing story. We will keep you updated.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those involved.

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