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Sunday 19 November 2017

Colombia ends search for flood survivors

Destroyed and damaged homes seen from the air in Mocoa (AP)
Destroyed and damaged homes seen from the air in Mocoa (AP)

Colombian authorities have abandoned the search for survivors of floods that killed at least 314 people, with 106 people listed as missing.

Emergency workers will turn to excavating roads and buildings, distributing aid and trying to avoid the outbreak of epidemics in the small southern city of Mocoa, where water and power services remained cut off, a week after the avalanche of debris-filled water poured down from the mountains.

"Without adverse conditions, a person can survive a long time, but with the quantity of mud and rocks in Mocoa, that is very difficult," said Manuel Infante, who has been leading volunteer firefighters who arrived from Cali.

"I'd say that the missing are dead," he added.

Defence minister Luis Carlos Villegas said it "will take a generation" to completely restore the city.

He said the missing could be in hospitals in other cities, lost without phone contact, or simply dead beneath the mud and rubble.

Carlos Ivan Marquez, director general of the national anti-disaster agency, said emergency workers would begin using heavy equipment.

AP

Press Association

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