At least 50 people were missing in Colombia on Sunday after heavy rains caused a landslide in the northwest of the Andean nation, relief organizations said.
Colombia is experiencing torrential downpours due to the La Nina weather phenomenon. The rains and floods have killed around 170 people so far this year, mostly in recent months, and affected 1.5 million more.
“It’s believed that there could be between 50 and 60 people trapped, maybe more,” said disaster official John Freddy Rendon in the city of Medellin near where the landslide occurred.
Rendon said more than 50 homes were covered in Bello municipality in Antioquia province.
The Colombian Red Cross said in a statement that at least 150 people were “affected” with an unknown number missing.
It said one body had been recovered.
Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos said on Sunday the number of homeless from the rains could reach 2 million.
“The tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history,” Santos said, after flying over the coastal region of Atlantico to see the situation first hand.
The rains have hindered coffee and coal sectors too.
In neighbouring Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez blamed “criminal” capitalism for global climate phenomena including the region’s rains that have also killed more than 30 and left tens of thousands homeless in his country.
(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Jack Kimball; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Vicki Allen)