By NAN Contributor
News Americas, BOGOTÁ, Colombia, Mon. April 3, 2017: The death toll in the March 31, 2017 Colombia flooding and landslide disaster could rise higher, officials said Sunday.
So far the death toll has been put at 234 people dead and 430 people injured or missing, after intense flooding caused the Mocoa, Mulato and Sangucayo rivers to burst their banks.
Governor Sorrel Aroca told local media that 17 neighborhoods had been damaged by the flooding, with two bridges closed and electricity supply disruptions expected to continue, hampering emergency response efforts. Emergency workers are still searching for survivors and the death toll is expected to rise.
“The figures have been going up and in the crisis room they kept reporting more dead, we hope to God that (the death toll) will not go up too much because it is very sad,” Castro added.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos told reporters on Saturday that the area had experienced 130 mm (5 inches) rain overnight, when the average monthly rainfall in Putumayo region is 400 mm.
The Colombian military are on scene to assist with evacuations and relief efforts and a state of national emergency has been declared.
So far the Colombian Red Cross is unable to accept aid donations amidst the deadly flooding but a National Crisis Room has been activated according to the body.
The Colombian Red Cross says it is not able to kick its fundraising into gear yet and won’t be able to until a suitable staging area has been established and proper means of distribution organized.