Tens killed in Colombia landslide
Rescue officials say at least a third of the 30 retrieved bodies are children.
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2010 03:08 GMT
At least 90 people are still missing but continued heavy rains diminished hopes of finding survivors alive [EPA]

Colombian rescue officials have said they retrieved the bodies of 30 people, at least a third of them children, who died in a massive weekend mudslide.

"They have recovered 30 bodies and rescue operations are continuing," Jorge Humberto Salazar, a spokesman with the government of the department of Antioquia, said on Tuesday.

At least 90 people are still missing but continued heavy rains diminished hopes of finding survivors alive.

Juan Manuel Santo, the Colombian president, urged nearly 500 people to evacuate from the vulnerable hillside of a poor Medellin suburb on Tuesday.

Santos on Tuesday visited the stricken suburb of Bello, about 250km northeast of Bogota, and told reporters the landslide was a tragedy waiting to happen.

He promised to build 1,000 homes for at-risk families in the town, where officials say between 80 and 100 homes are in danger.

Officials said a wall of mud slid down a sodden hillside on Sunday, burying about three dozen homes near Medellin, Colombia's second-largest city.

The tragedy occurred after a hillside perched above the La Gabriela neighborhood in the town of Bello gave way.

Venezuela floods

Venezuela was also pummelled for more than two weeks by steady rains, which killed at least 35 people and displaced more than 106,900 others.

Venezuelans washed out of their homes are staying at more than 700 shelters, including military installations, , Carlos Mata Figueroa, the defence minister, said on Tuesday.

The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to take care of 10,000 displaced families, while it builds more than 20,000 homes within two years, Vice President Elias Jaua told the Caracas-based Telesur television channel on Tuesday.

He added that the country's allies, including Nicaragua, Brazil and Argentina, have pledged donations to help fund the initiative.

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