Colombia Mourns 273 Landslide Victims

After a deadly landslide on April 1st, the rapidly decomposing bodies of almost three hundred loved ones were released to be buried on the 4th as rescuers continued to search for victims littering Southern Columbia following a weekend of flooding and landslides. Originally, 154 victims were reported. However, within three days the number had escalated to at least 273. Desperate families lined up for blocks to search morgues for missing loved ones who had died when several rivers “burst their banks in the early hours of Saturday, sending water, mud and debris crashing down streets and into houses as people slept.” Although the officials sought to bury the bodies as soon as possible to avoid spreading diseases, and began vaccination against infection, many citizens pleaded for a more streamlined process to obtain the bodies of loved ones before decomposition rendered them unrecognizable. Families in the city of Mocoa have spent days and nights “digging through the debris with their hands despite a lack of food, clean water and electricity.”

President Juan Manuel Santos has blamed climate change for the disaster. According to officials, Mocoa had been battered by 1/3 of its usual monthly rain in just one night, which caused the rivers to burst their banks. Others said deforestation in surrounding mountains meant there were few trees to prevent water causing mass movements down bare slopes.

As of last week, more than 500 people were staying in emergency housing. Families of deceased loved ones are due to receive $6,400 in aid, with the government promising to help with hospital and funeral costs.

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One thought on “Colombia Mourns 273 Landslide Victims

  1. This truly is an incredibly sad event. As I learned more about the landslide though I started thinking about different ways it could have be prevented or if the location as just a poor thought overall. Since this hasn’t happened in he past I am thinking it was just because of weather and the amount of rain they received but maybe there was a way of predicting that this was a possibility. I also think it is important to thinking about how humans can effect the likely hood of natural disasters because there was one part that mentioned how deforestation could have been one cause of the landslide. If there were more trees there and they hadn’t been cut down there is a slight change it would have helped catch the debris and mud that slid down and killed hundreds. It is important to think about when moving forward with how we treat nature.

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