The World Daily
Heavy rain in Colombia causes deaths and landslides

Several families living close to the river were evacuated due to the risk of flooding. Photo: AFP


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | FEBRUARY 9th 2022  


According to Colombia’s national disaster agency, there have been at least 14 confirmed deaths and 35 injuries following a landslide caused by heavy rainfall in the country’s central province of Risalda, known for its coffee growing.

The disaster occurred near the city of Pereira, in Dosquebradas. Though the heavy rains had been most present in the province of Risalda, they caused the landslide close-by. The death toll had only recently risen to 14, though it’s expected to rise even further as search efforts continue, with teams searching through the mud.

“Our updated report indicates that 35 people were injured, 14 lost their lives and one remains missing,” said the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD) in a Twitter update about the landslide in the La Esneda neighborhood.

Due to the mountainous terrains, poor structural integrity and frequent, heavy rainfall, landslides are a common disaster for the people of Colombia. Back in 2017, a large landslide in the city of Mocoa had been the country’s most recent large disaster, in which around 320 people had been reportedly killed as a result.

In this most recent incident, it was on Tuesday when the Otun river overflowed, and authorities had to evacuate several nearby homes.

“The banks of the Otun River have overflowed many times and although we’ve cleared (the area) so that families are not living amid that risk, many people return. Now, we’re focused on recovering the bodies and finding more survivors, and later we’ll think about relocation,” said Pereira Mayor Carlos Maya.

The Mayor had added that among the confirmed dead, two of them had been minors. The entire area is still considered a “risk zone,” thus the people remaining in other homes around the sector are also being advised to leave.

“We are currently managing the entire evacuation perimeter because we still detect soil instability,” said a government secretary in Risaralda, Alvaro Arias, to Blu Radio.


Several homes had been buried underneath the landslide, while others had been swept away down the Otun river. The river is still overflowing due to the heavy rainfall, which according to the Mayor isn’t uncommon, and often happens every winter.

“A very loud noise scared us. We went out and saw a piece of the mountain on top of the houses,” said Dubernei Hernandez, a taxi driver, to the Agence France Presse (AFP) news agency. “I went to that place and it was a disaster, with people trapped.”

He said that there were at least five homes buried beneath the mud, and that he himself had helped to dig up two bodies and one survivor. Authorities are afraid that more landslides may occur, and efforts to save lives are continuing.

Firefighters from Dosquebradas had originally been present to help with the disaster. Over time, however, other such agencies as the Red Cross and Risaralda Risk Management Directorate had been called in to assist as well. 


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2022 

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters, La Prensa Latina Media