Powerful mudslide in north-west Colombia kills 62 and 'wipes villages off the map' - video

The Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos vowed to rebuild the homes destroyed by the landslide

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The Independent US

A devastating mudslide has ripped through a ravine in the north-west of Colombia, killing 61 and injuring 37.

Heavy rainfall caused the ravine to overflow in the early hours of Monday morning, causing water and mud to cascade towards villages in the of Salgar area in Colombia’s Antioquia department.

Some residents in the villages in the area were awoken at 3am to find the wall of water carrying trees and rocks towards their modestly made huts and houses. Others were not as lucky and slept through the fatal slide.

"It was rocks and tree trunks everywhere," said resident of Salgar for 34 years Diego Agudelo.

"The river took out everything in its path, including the back part of my home.”

One village that was particularly affected was Santa Margarita, which officials said was “completely wiped off the face of the map” as a reult of the slide.

A state of emergency had been called by the Colombian government and Black Hawk helicopters and trucks had been brought in to try and rescue those still trapped to safety. Carlos Ivan Marquez, the head of the National Disasters Unit, said that more than 31 homes had been destroyed and an undetermined number of people were still missing on Monday evening.

The Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos vowed to rebuild the destroyed homes as he travelled to the town to oversee rescue efforts.