A few days after a mudslide claimed the lives of 254 people in south-western Columbia and wounded hundreds more, efforts are now being made to locate 158 missing people: “People returned to their homes and found that there was nothing left except the floor.”

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

A few days after a deadly disaster in Columbia, residents of Mocoa are still trying to recover. At least 254 people were killed and about 400 were injured in a mudslide last Saturday after a number of the rivers overflowed due to the heavy rainfall. Now, rescue forces are directing their efforts towards locating 158 people that are still missing.

“We lost our baby,” a resident stated in tears. “He is a small baby and we did not find him anywhere.” Maria Cordoba, another resident, described how two of her nephews, age 6 and 11, were killed when their house was destroyed: “Their mother was also seriously injured.” However, she noted that their mother was able to save their 18-month-old baby. According to the local authorities, the disaster killed 43 children.

“People returned to their homes and found that nothing remained except the floor,” Gilma Diaz related. “It was unbelievable. We saw how everything was destroyed. But God is great and he saved us. He gave us another opportunity to live so that we could start over.”

“You have no idea how many children there are here,” Alberto Solerta, who is helping to clear away the rubble, stated. Another local resident was saddened by the great number of children who were affected by the disaster: “I feel very sad for the ruins are full of games, clothes and children’s stories. It is painful for the children. This breaks the heart.”