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Update: Death Toll in Colombian Landslide Exceeds 180

© AP Photo / Colombian ArmyIn this handout photo released by the Colombian National Army, soldiers and rescue workers evacuate residents from the area in Mocoa, Colombia, Saturday, April 1, 2017, after an avalanche of water from an overflowing river swept through the city as people slept.
In this handout photo released by the Colombian National Army, soldiers and rescue workers evacuate residents from the area in Mocoa, Colombia, Saturday, April 1, 2017, after an avalanche of water from an overflowing river swept through the city as people slept. - Sputnik International
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Hundreds are feared dead in Colombia's Putumayo province after heavy rains pushed rivers over their banks and caused a huge mudslide in the province's capital of Mocoa, population 345,000.

According to the latest reports by local media, the death toll has reached 181. Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos announced the number, citing data provided by police, RCN Radio reported.

Colombia's Red Cross estimates that 220 people remain missing and some 400 were injured in the landslide.

"It's a big area," Mayor of Mocoa José Antonio Castro told local radio station Caracol earlier on Saturday. "A big portion of the many houses were just taken by the avalanche, but above all the people were warned with enough time and they were able to get out. But houses in 17 neighborhoods have basically been erased," he said.

His own was among them. "The mud is up to the roof," he said.

Two bridges were also washed away.

Police Commander Colonel Omar Bonilla told Caracol there are "adults, women and infants," among the bodies they recovered Saturday afternoon.

Santos flew to Mocoa to speak with residents and assess rescue efforts.

"We will do everything possible to help them," Santos said of those affected, Radio New Zealand reports. "It breaks my heart."

A state of emergency has been declared in the city, and some 2,500 soldiers and law enforcement officials have been mobilized in search and rescue efforts.

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