The Latest: Death toll rises to 207 in Colombia avalanche

AP News
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Posted: Apr 02, 2017 2:01 PM
The Latest: Death toll rises to 207 in Colombia avalanche

MOCOA, Colombia (AP) — The Latest on the deadly river overflow in southern Colombia (all times local):

12:15 p.m.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says that at least 207 people have been killed in a water and mud avalanche in the country's south, but the death toll is changing "every moment."

Santos spoke Sunday in his latest update on the tragedy.

Authorities say another 200 people including many children were injured and just as many remain unaccounted for amid the destruction in the city of Mocoa.

Heavy rains sent floodwaters, mud and debris surging through homes in the city around midnight Friday. That left the streets covered Saturday morning in thick sand, mud and tree limbs from the rivers and forest that surround the community.

People are digging through the ruins, salvaging what they can of their possessions and looking for their missing loved ones.

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9:40 a.m.

Colombia's Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez says his office has launched an investigation to ensure local and national authorities fulfilled their responsibility in taking the necessary corrective and preventative actions in the community affected by a deadly avalanche of water and mud.

Martinez says in a statement Sunday that his office has dispatched 45 criminal investigators to the community of Mocoa to help in the identification of victims.

The Institute of Legal Medicine also is sending 15 pathologists to the scene to help with identifying the dead and perform autopsies.

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9 a.m.

A grim search for the missing has resumed in in southern Colombia after surging rivers sent an avalanche of floodwaters, mud and debris through a small city, killing at least 200 people and leaving many more injured and homeless.

People in Mocoa have been prying through piles of rocks and wooden planks that entombed homes.

Streets were covered in thick sand, mud and tree limbs from the rivers and rainforest that surround the city. There is little drinking water and no power, which forced authorities to suspend the search and rescue effort during the night.

The National Disaster Agency said Sunday that the death toll was at 200, with another 200 injured, but authorities concede it could easily go higher because many people are still unaccounted for.