Lima, Mar 15 (EFE).- At least 15 people were trapped Tuesday when a mudslide buried scores of homes in the northern region of La Libertad, Peru’s COEN emergency management said.
“Officially, we have 15 people trapped and six missing. We assume from the information the residents provide that there are more people, but we have to validate it,” COEN coordinator Rolando Capucho said.
The health ministry, meanwhile, put the number of missing at 12, including three minors.
The ministry said that it was working to establish an air bridge between Lima and the stricken community of Retamas, which is seven hours by road from the regional capital, Trujillo.
Ministry personnel are deploying in the disaster zone along with teams from the Civil Defense Institute (Indeci).
The mudslide, which followed days of heavy rains, buried as many as 80 homes, La Libertad Gov. Manuel Llempen told Latina television.
Defense Minister Jose Gavidia said that three military helicopters carrying 20 rescue specialists and 15 firefighters were en route to Retamas and that 10 more rescue workers would accompany him to Trujillo.
The National Police likewise announced it was dispatching search and rescue teams.
“We will support the affected families and will arrange various actions with local authorities,” President Pedro Castillo said on Twitter.
RPP radio reported that Indeci warned four months ago that the community was vulnerable to avalanches and mudslides because of its location on the banks of the Retamas River. EFE