BREAKING: Almost 200 DEAD, 200 INJURED And 200 MISSING- Death Toll Expected To Rise

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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.

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

With no electricity to light in Mocoa, Colombia, authorities were forced to suspend the search late Saturday evening but vowed to continue combing through the debris at the first appearance of daylight Sunday morning.

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.

“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.”

Eduardo Vargas, 29, was asleep with his wife and 7-month-old baby when he was awoken by the sound of neighbors banging on his door. He quickly grabbed his family and fled up a small mountain amid the cries of people in panic.

“There was no time for anything,” he said.

Vargas and his family huddled with about two dozen other residents as they waited there until daylight, when members of the military helped them down.

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.

The bodies of the nearly 200 people found dead are being placed in a temporary morgue where three teams of medical examiners were working around the clock to swiftly identify the remains.

(Source- Fox News)

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

Our hearts and prayers go out to all those involved.

God Bless.

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