Two killed, 145 missing in Colombia landslide

20:26, December 06, 2010      

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Police and residents dig at the site where a landslide buried dozens of homes in Bello, northwestern Colombia, Dec. 5, 2010. As many as 200 people may have been buried in a landslide Sunday that swept over 10 houses near Medellin, Colombia's second largest city, Red Cross relief workers said. (Xinhua/AFP)

The number of people buried by a severe landslide in northwestern Colombia could reach 145 and the death toll has reached two, local authorities said on Sunday.

Two people have been confirmed dead, including a two-year-old girl. Another seven people were injured after a landslide buried about 50 houses in the Medellin suburb of Bello, northwest of the Andean country.

Luis Alfredo Ramos, governor of Antioquia, said the landslide was caused by intense rains in recent days.

"The rescue authorities has set up a command center to look for the missing people. In addition, other houses will be evacuated to avoid other incidents like this," Ramos said.

Sniffer dogs have arrived at the spot to try to locate people beneath the sodden earth.

The Colombian government has sent a letter to all the diplomatic missions in Bogota to ask for international aid to help the country cope with the current rain season which is forecast to last until March.

Landslides triggered by rains are common in the country's Andes mountains.

Official statistics show that earlier heavy downpours in this year had affected 1,503,730 people, killing 174, wounding 225 and causing 19 to disappear.

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