Tue | Sep 25, 2018

Fewer missing but more dead as rivers recede

Published:Tuesday | April 4, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Soldiers and members of Colombian Red Cross rescue a body of a victim of an avalanche in Mocoa, Colombia yesterday


Search teams were still digging and probing into dense piles of mud and debris whenever anyone reported hearing the sound of movement below, as rescuers yesterday refused to give up the search for survivors of the deadliest floods in the recent history of this Colombian city.

Three days after floodwaters rushed through the city of Mocoa, Colombian authorities say they are not yet ready to concede that it is too late to find anyone from among the more than 200 people listed as missing, though time is clearly running out.

"We do not like to create false expectations but where there is a possibility of life we will do everything possible," said Carlos Ivan Marquez, director of Colombia's National Unit of Disaster and Risk Management.

Much of Mocoa was strewn with rocks, tree limbs, debris and brown muck after heavy rain caused three rivers that surround Mocoa to rise up and surge through the city of 40,000 in southern Colombia Friday night and early Saturday as people slept.

The government said the official death toll had increased to 262, though it was likely to rise as the rivers begin to recede and more human remains emerge.