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Dozens die beneath cascading Colombia mudslide

Rescuers unload stretchers and emergency gear at the scene of the mudslide tragedy.

Rescuers unload stretchers and emergency gear at the scene of the mudslide tragedy. Photo: AP

Heavy rains have let a mountainside give way in Colombia, claiming at least 34 lives and leaving an unknown others yet to be found.

Officials have been scrambling to free survivors after the mudslide engulfed a major highway without warning and swept away vehicles on the artery connecting the cities of Quibdo and Medellin in the Pacific province of Choco.

Rescuers and sniffer dogs from across Colombia were immediately dispatched to the scene to search for injured people.

“We lived a very sad weekend for Choco, our people feel the pain of the victims,” said Choco Governor Nubia Cordoba Curi.

Images on social media showed the moment a large piece of land dislodged from a mountain and fell on top of several cars that were moving along the flooded road below.

The National Disaster Risk Management Unit said that at least 35 injured people were taken to different hospitals.

Colombian Vice-President Francia Márquez posted on the social platform X that some of the victims are minors, and that other people remain trapped under the mud.

The risk management unit did not specify what could have caused the mudslide but the Defence Department reported on Friday night that it has been raining in the area, making it difficult for rescue operations.

President Gustavo Petro tweeted on Friday that his government would provide all support needed in what he described as a “horrible tragedy”.

-AAP

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