An avalanche of mud has buried a small village in north-eastern Peru, killing at least 20 people and leaving 25 missing, authorities said Friday. Rain has been heavy this season in the Andean region, a trend some attribute to climate change.
AFP - A massive avalanche of mud and rock has buried a small village in northeastern Peru, killing at least 20 people and leaving 25 others missing, authorities said Friday.
"As of 12:00 pm (1700 GMT)... the death toll stands at 20 people," Civil Defense chief of the Huanuco region, Hipolito Cruchaga, told reporters.
He said 50 people were injured in the mudslide, but he was cautious as to the number of people missing, putting it at around 25.
Some reports put the number of missing in the village of Ambo in the hundreds.
"An entire village, some 400 people, has completely vanished," Jorge Espinoza, a senior official in the Huanuco region, had earlier told N television.
"Some will be saved, but it appears the majority were buried," he said.
The bodies of some victims were plucked from the swollen Huallaga River downstream from the village of Ambo, while others had to be dug out of the mud, local media reported.
It was unclear how many people were in the village late Thursday when heavy rains sparked the disaster. Journalists at the scene initially reported 12 dead and 30 missing.
The rockslide also left 120 homes in the area damaged or destroyed, said Cruchaga, adding that rescue crews, firefighters, military and police were all working the disaster site in search of survivors.
He said emergency aid for hundreds of people who evacuated their homes had begun to arrive in Ambo, including tents, blankets and food supplies.
Officials said the rock and mudslide was triggered by a small lake higher up a mountain that overflowed into a ravine.
It was the second fatal mudslide in the area this week. On Thursday, officials said five people were killed by a similar disaster in the town of Cancejos.
The rain has been particularly heavy during this year's season in the Andean region, a trend some attribute to climate change.
Date created : 2010-04-03