New landslide in Venezuela kills three people
Intense rain in northern Venezuela caused a landslide that has killed at least three people, President Nicolas Maduro said on Monday as he visited another site where over 50 died in similar circumstances last week.
“I am informed that there are three dead in El Castano, it was a mudslide that came from the mountain,” said Maduro, referring to a neighbourhood in Maracay, the capital of northern Aragua state, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) west of the capital Caracas.
Video footage from El Castano broadcast on Venezuelan television showed mudslides devastating everything in their path — sweeping away vehicles, trees and huge boulders.
An AFP team observed the aftermath, as responders worked through the night to clear mud and rocks from the road, with lights from vehicles illuminating the worksites as the area was left without electricity.
Jose Dos Santos, 56, said he took refuge with his family in the highest part of his house.
“I was looking towards the mountain, the rain was heavy. We heard a roar and then when I saw water coming in through the windows, I grabbed my folks and we climbed up,” he told AFP.
Fellow resident Nelida Rodriguez said the landslide “was horrible.”
“I’ve lived here for 70 years and have never seen this.”
Maduro made the announcement during a speech in Las Tejerias, 65 kilometers east of El Castano, where a landslide a week ago left 54 dead, according to the latest toll cited by the president.
In Las Tejerias “we still have a number of missing people, reported, I am told that 8 are completely confirmed and we are still searching”, said Maduro about the most devastating natural disaster in Venezuela in the last 20 years.
The president said last week that the number of victims could reach 100.
Maduro later travelled to El Castano, where he said “all this is climate change.”
“This year the rainfall has been very difficult for the whole country.”
Maduro said that in 2022, he has seen the worst natural disasters in his nine-and-a-half years in office.