Torrential rains and flooding have killed at least 12 people at a mining camp in mountainous northwest Colombia, with another two reported missing and more damage expected, authorities said Thursday.
The flooding at Abriaqui in the Antioquia department surprised a group of miners as they were eating dinner on Wednesday evening, Mayor Hector Urrego told local television.
“The guys were at dinner, some were preparing to rest, others were leaving work when the flood arrived” at the El Porvenir gold mine, he said.
“We have twelve lifeless bodies (…) and there are still two missing,” he added.
The flooding destroyed one level of the mining camp as well as part of a plant, according to the Antioquia government.
The effort to recover the missing was delayed until Friday morning due to inclement weather, rescue officials said.
Urrego added that 20 families were evacuated from a nearby town due to the risk of further flooding, with various rivers around Abriaqui threatening to burst their banks.
Several rural roads were made impassable by landslides.
“A team of professionals are heading to the area to support response efforts,” said the provincial disaster management agency DAGRAN.
President Ivan Duque expressed “solidarity with the families of the victims” on Twitter.
“Relief agencies are working… in search operations for the disappeared,” the president said.
So far this rainy season, 17 people have died in floods in Antioquia, according to local authorities.
Hours before the Abriaqui flood, a woman was killed in a landslide triggered by heavy rains in the neighboring town of Barbosa.
In February, at least 14 people died and 34 were injured in a mudslide triggered by heavy rains in the central-west Risaralda province.