Image: Flooded street
Efrain Patino  /  AP
Residents wade through a flooded street Saturday in Puerto Santander, a town on Colombia's northeastern border with Venezuela.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 12/4/2010 7:15:58 PM ET 2010-12-05T00:15:58

Dozens of towns across Colombia remained flooded on Saturday, as the Colombian Red Cross noted that the number of impacted people had topped 1.5 million.

An exceptionally wet rainy season has caused floods and landslides that have killed at least 174 people so far. Nineteen Colombians are listed as missing.

Meteorologists attribute the rise in precipitation over the country to the "La Nina" climatic phenomenon, which is caused by a cooling of adjacent waters in the Pacific Ocean.

More than 1,800 homes have been destroyed and 256,000 damaged, the Red Cross stated.

  1. Partner links
    1. Top stories
    2. Severe alerts
    3. Pollen hot spots
    4. Airport delays
    5. Rush hour traffic
Some 628 cities and towns have been impacted.

Colombia's government last month tapped a rich if tainted vein to help fund relief for flood victims: dollars seized from drug traffickers.

President Juan Manuel Santos said he was taking $25 million in drug cash and asking the World Bank for another $150 million to help the victims.

Anti-narcotics police have seized $140 million this year in Colombia.

Santos said the $227 million the government has used for flood relief this year isn't enough.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,