Venezuela landslide kills at least 39 people, over 50 missing in country’s largest landslide so far
Authorities estimate the avalanche has killed at least 39 people and have registered 150 people missing in the densely forested country where more than 70 percent of the population lives in poverty.
At least 24 of the dead were students attending the same high school in Caracas. The school is located among a network of roads and footpaths in the mountain village of Maturin, where most of the casualties occurred.
The main cause of the landslide is a combination of factors, including the effects of a nearby dam on rainfall patterns and the flooding of the area as a result of the massive snowfall that has fallen in the region.
The official report said at a press conference today that there are 50 people still missing but that the number of those who died is 39. Local authorities are reporting a higher toll.
Venezuela has been ravaged by a severe economic crisis under President Nicolas Maduro. The country is suffering under an unprecedented economic and social crisis
“Affected people from the village of Maturin are in a very difficult situation without any information of how they have been affected by this tragedy,” said Mayor Daniel Martinez, whose village has been devastated by the disaster.
More than 5,000 people from Maturin have been evacuated to other parts of the country. The mayor said that food and water is running out and that many people are suffering from hunger.
Officials say the tragedy hit hard the entire region, with many villages left without electricity, running water or heating, and most supplies having been damaged in the massive snowfall. Government soldiers have set up a search-and-rescue base in the area and deployed aircraft and dogs to help with the search.
The landslide occurred after heavy snowfall caused a dam to burst in the Caracas-Arequipa-Mérida region, the mayor said. The dam, about a mile from the village of Maturin, was created more than 20 years ago by Venezuela’