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Colombia Mourns Hundreds Killed in Mudslides

Almost 300 died when rivers surrounding Mocoa overflowed and sent a wall of water and debris surging through the city over the weekend.

A neighborhood is destroyed after flooding and mudslides caused by heavy rains in Mocoa, Colombia on April 3, 2017.

A month's worth of rain fell in a single night late Friday and early Saturday, causing one of the worst recent natural disasters in Colombia.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

A woman is surrounded by downed tree limbs on April 2.

Three of the six rivers surrounding Mocoa overran their banks. A wall of muddy brown water and tree limbs raced through the streets, destroying homes and carrying away cars and appliances like driftwood. At least 290 people, many of them children, were swept away, and died, according to the most recent count released by the government Wednesday. There were about 330 injured, including 19 in the hospital, and many still unaccounted for amid the wreckage.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

Women survey damage caused by the mudslides on April 2.

Much of Mocoa remains strewn with rocks, tree limbs, and brown muck.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

People salvage some of their belongings on April 2.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

Tree limbs and mud cover a street on April 2.

Fernando Vergara / AP

A couple waits outside their home on April 2.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

A wounded girl waits for medical attention at a shelter in Mocoa on April 3.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

A hillside remains exposed after it collapsed over the weekend from heavy rainfall, on April 3.

Mocoa was vulnerable because of its location, amid a confluence of rivers in the wet subtropical Amazon region of southern Colombia. The danger had grown worse as trees were cut down for cattle ranching and other agriculture, removing critical protection against flooding and landslides. Then came an influx of new residents, many fleeing the violence from the government's long fight with guerrilla forces.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

Soldiers and members of the Colombian Red Cross recover the body of a victim on April 3.

The survivors of the deadly flood that washed through this city in southern Colombia started to bury their loved ones after authorities began to release the remains recovered from a disaster that has shaken the country.

Fernando Vergara / AP

A rescuer carries his dog on a destroyed street on April 3.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

Members of the Colombian civil defense remove the body of a woman on April 3.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

The facade of a building remains standing in the San Miguel neighborhood on April 2.

Leonardo Mu?oz / EPA

Men arrive in a vehicle with bodies to be identified on April 2.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

A woman weeps during the funeral of her relative at the cemetery on April 3.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

Relatives and friends of Deisy Rosero, 26, pray during her funeral on April 3.

Many in this city of around 40,000 people still seem in shock from the flood.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

People line up outside a cemetery to looking for their missing relatives on April 2.

 

Fernando Vergara / AP

A woman waits for news of her missing relatives at a shelter in Mocoa on April 3.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

Children play in a shelter for people who became homeless on April 4.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

A displaced family rests at a shelter in Mocoa on April 3.

Luis Robayo / AFP - Getty Images

Colombian civil defense workers bury the coffin of Jesus Diago, 33, who died rescuing his family on April 4.

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Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters