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145 dead in Colombia landslide
BELLO, DEC 7 (Agencies):
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Published on 8 Dec. 2010 12:13 AM IST
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Rescuers have recovered 12 bodies from a mudslide in northwestern Colombia that may have buried up to 145 people after weeks of heavy rain, officials said on Monday. A sodden hillside collapsed on Sunday in Bello town, near Antioquia province’s capital Medellin, burying about 50 homes.
Orfanely Madrigal cried as workers and residents slowly dug at the mud that buried her children, her mother and other family members in Bello. “I foresaw this tragedy. I told my mother this was a high-risk area but nobody believed me,” she said. “I’ve lost half my family – my mother, four brothers, nephews and my 13- and 10-year-old daughters,” she said on local radio.
“There are 145 people missing, including the 12 dead who have been recovered up until now,” Antioquia Governor Luis Alfredo Ramos told reporters in Bello. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the number of homeless from the rains could reach 2 million. “The tragedy the country is going through has no precedents in our history,” said Santos. Rain and flooding have forced 1.5 million people from their homes this year in what the government calls the worst natural disaster in Colombia’s history.
The downpours in recent months are due to the La Nina weather phenomenon, which the government’s weather office expects to last into the first quarter of next year.
Neighboring Venezuela is suffering as well, with tens of thousands of people displaced and President Hugo Chavez blamed ‘criminal’ capitalism for devastating global changes. In Venezuela, at least 32 people have died and 70,000 been forced out of homes.
“The calamities we are suffering with these cruel and prolonged rains are yet more evidence of the unfair and cruel paradox of our planet,” the socialist leader said. “The developed nations irresponsibly shatter the environmental order, in their desire to maintain a criminal development model.”

 
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