Colombian authorities recorded at least 11 casualties and a dozen injured due to a landslide in a mining area in the municipality of Abriaquí caused by heavy rains.
The risk management agency of Antioquia (Dagran) added that there are an unspecified number of people missing.
The victims, mostly miners, were working at an unofficial gold mine covered by the landslide in an unpopulated area in Abriaquí, the National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said.
Authorities are now mobilizing to provide emergency services and assess possible infrastructure damage, Dagran said.
“This situation once again fills us with sadness. Last Monday, we emphasized that these events will continue to occur, and we cannot avoid them because they are natural phenomena, but we can avoid loss of life,” Dagran’s director Jaime Gomez said.
“We’re in the rainy season, so people who live or have activities on the banks of rivers mustn’t be near these tributaries. Risk management is an issue of co-responsibility of all Colombians, and it depends on all of us to do what we can to protect life,” said Gomez.
Antioquia Gov. Anibal Gaviria said on Twitter that he will meet with his cabinet and then travel to Abriaquí to offer support for what he called “a painful tragedy.”
President Ivan Duque expressed his solidarity with the victims’ families. He said that relief agencies are also engaged in search operations with the disaster agency.
“We make available the necessary help to attend to the victims of this tragedy caused by the heavy rains of the last few hours. We will maintain permanent monitoring of the situation,” Duque tweeted.
Landslides are common in Colombia due to the mountainous terrain, frequent heavy rains, and poor or informal construction of houses.
The National Unit for Disaster Risk Management said that more than 9,000 people had been affected by the rainy season since it began on March 16.
In early February, 15 people died, and 35 were injured in a landslide in Pereira.
In 2017, at least 254 people were killed by mudslides in Mocoa.