Rescue officials say at least 12 bodies have been recovered from a mudslide in northern Colombia that may have buried 145 more.
Torrential rains caused the mudslide that engulfed dozens of homes Sunday outside Colombia’s second-largest city, Medellin.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the unusually heavy rainfalls could leave more than 2 million people homeless. Before Sunday’s disaster, heavy rains had killed around 170 people this year in Colombia.
In neighboring Venezuela, driving rains have triggered flooding and cave-ins that have killed 34 people and left an
estimated 90,000 people homeless.
Officials blame the downpours on the La Nina weather phenomenon, during which cooler-than-normal water temperatures exist in the Tropical Pacific Ocean.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says the government will seize private land and tourist resorts to house the thousands of people made homeless by the worst flooding in 40 years.
Chavez ordered the government to seize nearly 36 hectares of privately owned land near the national airport and authorized the building of thousands of housing units.
He also authorized officials to take over unused hotel rooms and tourist resorts.