Drama in Peru: at least 60 houses buried in a mudslide, 15 to 20 missing
Sylvie Claire / March 16, 2022
The slopes of a hill collapsed and covered the houses of the town of Retamas, in the province of Pataz, under masses of earth, according to the provincial government, Manuel Llempén Tuesday. The extent of the damage is not yet determined, according to a statement from the regional government. Villagers and miners in the surrounding areas are continuing their search for survivors.
We have estimated that between 15 and 20 people are still missing, said Defense Minister Jose Gavidia during a visit to the city Tuesday night, a dozen hours after the collapse of the hill.
The toll could worsen in the coming hours. Impressive videos filmed by residents of the town of Retamas show tons of earth falling from the top of the hill and engulfing many houses.
The Peruvian president, Pedro Castillo, dispatched the civil protection and the defense on the spot, and assured that the government would help the families affected by the disaster.
The landslide has covered, according to the first findings, between 60 and 80 houses, said on a local radio the governor of the region of Libertad, Manuel Llempen. They are completely buried.
Several people buried by mud and rock were rescued by neighbors who drilled through their roofs and walls, local media reported.
There are many people trapped inside their homes, said Llempen.
Difficult to access, Retamas is mainly inhabited by families of miners. It is located 16 hours drive from the regional capital Trujillo, 500 km north of Lima.
Landslides are common during the southern summer months in the Peruvian Andes due to seasonal rains.