Colombia – Massive Landslide Destroys Homes, Cuts Major Road in Cauca

Long-term heavy rainfall caused a massive landslide in the department of Cauca, southwestern Colombia, on 09 January 2023. Homes were destroyed and hundreds of victims were displaced.

landslide Rosas Cauca Colombia January 2023 – Municipality of Rosas

The landslide occurred during the early hours of 09 January 2023 in the municipality of Rosas, Cauca Department. Disaster authorities said huge volumes of debris fell from slopes onto part of Highway 25 below, covering a 900-metre stretch of the road. Highway 25 is an important transport route between the cities of Pasto (Nariño department) and Popayán (Cauca department). The road is likely to remain closed for the next 2 weeks.

Colombia’s National Unit for Disaster Risk Management (UNGRD) said several villages in the area are isolated. The Colombian Air Force was deployed to rescue victims by helicopter.

In a statement made on 10 January, President Gustavo Petro reported more than 700 people were affected by the mass movement that left at least 64 houses destroyed. UNGRD said rescue and relief operations are underway and teams will deliver 3,200 Emergency Humanitarian Assistance kits to affected families.

UNGRD reported that the landslide was likely triggered by accumulated rainfall from the last few weeks. According to the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Studies Environmental (IDEAM) around 445 mm of rain fell in the area over the last 38 days, and 132 mm in the last 10 days.

The Colombian Geological Service (SGC) will carry out a detailed study to determine the exact cause of the emergency.

Landslide in the municipality of Rosas, Cauca Department, Colombia, 09 January 2023. Photo: UNGRD

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