A mudslide in central Colombia killed at least 14 people early Tuesday and blocked a highway that connects Bogota to the nation’s eastern plains, officials said.
The avalanche of mud and debris took down several homes in Quetame, a municipality located an hour’s drive southeast of Bogota. It was unleashed by heavy rains that flooded three streams.
Police said they were searching for missing people who could be buried under the debris. The mudslide also swept over a toll booth and tore down a bridge on the Bogota-Villavicencio highway, forcing police to redirect traffic.
Many of the homes affected by the mudslide were built along hillsides, close to rivers.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro gave his condolences to the victims on Twitter, and wrote that the incident “demonstrates that there is an imperative need” for local officials to plan urban areas more rigorously, leaving greater space around waterways.