The first three bodies of victims of the landslide in northern Peru, which swept away several houses on Tuesday, were found on Wednesday during search operations for missing persons.
“We were able to recover the body of a third person, a 62-year-old man. He was under the rubble of a market,” Lieutenant Carlos Alberto Valderrama, the village’s police chief, told AFP. affected by this disaster.
Earlier, rescuers had located the bodies of a man and that of a one-month-old girl, rescue spokesman Jose Rivas told reporters. “He most likely tried to protect the child, and the rockslide buried them both.”
Relief operations have been interrupted due to heavy rains falling in the area, Valderrama also said Wednesday evening.
Earlier, authorities had corrected the number of missing people downwards to eight, “including three children”, from 15 on Tuesday hours after tons of earth fell from the top of a high hill, as testified to the images recorded by the inhabitants of Retamas.
Peru / © AFP
The number of buried houses has also been corrected. “About seven,” said Defense Minister Jose Gavidia, who is leading the rescue operations, on Wednesday. Far less than the 60 hastily announced by the governor of the La Libertad region, Manuel Llempen.
The landslide occurred Tuesday morning in this isolated village of 5,000 inhabitants, located 2,800 meters above sea level in the region of La Libertad (500 km north of Lima), 16 hours drive from the city of Trujillo, the regional capital.
“I was able to get out in time, my house was buried. The landslide left us with nothing,” said Ledy Leiva, five of whose other family members are also safe.
The President of Peru, Pedro Castillo visited the scene and lamented that poverty led to the construction of houses in places plagued by natural risks.
“This place had already been identified as a high-risk area,” said Civil Security preparedness director Miguel Yamazaki.
Landslides are common during the southern summer months in the Peruvian Andes due to seasonal rains.
In 2009, at least 13 people, including a child, had already died in Retamas in a landslide.
In mid-February in Brazil, more than 200 people died in Petropolis during floods which had notably caused a landslide, sweeping away dozens of houses built on the hillside.