Mudslides Claim At Least 254 Lives in Colombia

A man looks at a mud covered area in Mocoa, Colombia. // Photo by AP Photo/Fernando Vergara

Several media outlets have reported that deadly mudslides took many Colombians off guard as they came rushing through in the middle of the night, swallowing streets and crushing through houses as most people slept.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos tweeted Sunday that the mudslides in Colombia killed at least 254 people and that there are no more people officially missing.

The main devastation occurred in Mocoa, which was completely caught off guard when the catastrophe occurred in the early hours of Saturday morning, especially since only "light rain" had been in the weather forecast for that night, according to The New York Times. Mocoa is said to be a popular hiking destination for both tourists and locals.

Reuters says the devastating combination of mud and debris was created when "several rivers burst their banks" near Mocoa, "crashing down streets and into houses as people slept."

NBC News reported Sunday afternoon that "three overflowing rivers tore through" Mocoa. According to Reuters, Santos urged Colombians to brace for continued rains and to take precautions against flooding.

According to AOL.com, "Heavy rains caused several rivers to overflow, pushing sediment and rocks onto buildings and roads in the capital of southwestern Putumayo province and immobilizing cars in several feet of mud."

Many families in Mocoa stayed up through the night to search in the debris, despite lack of electricity in the city, according to Reuters.

According to CNN.com, Santos said more than five inches of rain fell in the area Friday night, setting off the deadly torrents. The monthly average is about 16 inches, he said.

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