Colombia Declares Emergency After Devastating Landslide

Colombia has declared an “economic, social and ecological emergency” due to devastating landslide in Mocoa.

The flood came after a night of extremely heavy rain, which raised the water levels of the Mocoa River and three tributaries, sweeping away entire neighbourhoods.

More than 200 people have been killed and hundreds more are missing after torrential rains triggered severe flooding and mudslides in the city of Mocoa, in southwest Colombia.

Heavy overnight rainfall caused several rivers to overflow their banks, sending mud and debris crashing on to houses as people slept, and sweeping away vehicles and trees.

Mocoa is the capital of Putumayo, near Colombia’s border with Ecuador.

Situated in the Andes Mountains, Putumayo is notorious for deadly landslides. The region’s mountainous terrain and frequent rainfall makes it prone to such disasters. The Andean mountains in this region have ultra steep drops, from over 5,000 meters to 500 meters within 50-100 km, with that kind of drop, heavy rains tend to take boulders at high speeds along with them (locally called huaycos), not just water.

Colombia has been hit by several deadly landslides in recent months. Last October, a landslide in the north of the country killed 10 people in October last year. A month later, another killed nine people in the southwestern rural town of El Tambo.