Families and rescuers searched desperately on Sunday through mud-plastered rubble for victims of flooding and landslides in Colombia that have killed 254 people, injured hundreds and devastated entire neighbourhoods.
Several rivers burst their banks near the southwestern city of Mocoa in the early hours of Saturday, sending water, mud and debris crashing down streets and into houses as people slept.
Volunteers and firefighters tended to 82 bodies downstream in the town of Villagarzon and said many corpses were still caught in debris.
“We had to recover them ourselves. We think we’ll find more,” Villagarzon Mayor Jhon Ever Calderon told Reuters. He said the town had no coffins or sanitary storage.
Many families in Mocoa stayed up through the night to search through the debris, despite the lack of electricity in the city.
“I need to know where they are, if they are injured or where to find them,” sobbed Maria Lilia Tisoy, 37, looking through the rubble for her two daughters, one pregnant, and a 4-year-old granddaughter.
“If they are dead, please God deliver them to me,” she said.
President Juan Manuel Santos made a second visit to the area on Sunday. He said water and energy services would be restored as soon as possible.
Santos blamed climate change for the disaster, saying Mocoa had received one-third of its usual monthly rain in just one night, causing the rivers to burst their banks.