Death toll climbs to 25 in massive Venezuela landslide, with dozens still missing

Wrecked home in landslide in Venezuela
A Venezuelan flag hangs Monday at a mud-filled home in Las Tejerias, where the search for bodies continues after a landslide late Saturday.
(Matias Delacroix / Associated Press)

Rescue workers used drones and trained dogs to look for survivors Monday following a massive landslide in the Venezuelan city of Las Tejerias, as the death toll rose to 25 with dozens more reported missing.

The landslide occurred on Saturday evening following heavy rains caused by Hurricane Julia, and has destroyed more than 300 homes and affected businesses in the city of 50,000 people, located along Venezuela’s main industrial corridor.

Rescuers searched for survivors and workers used heavy machinery to clear debris from a hillside neighborhood where the roads were covered with mud. Authorities said 52 people were missing.


On Monday, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez toured the area and said that three more bodies had been found, raising the death toll to at least 25. She said workers still hoped to find people alive under the debris.

Residents said they had only a few minutes to abandon their homes as the avalanche of mud, rocks and tree trunks rolled down a mountain and spilled into neighborhoods that were also flooded by five streams. Several children have been reported missing.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday declared three days of mourning for the victims and sent rescue workers to Las Tejerias, which lies along a highway that connects Caracas to the industrial city of Valencia. Maduro said that 11 states in the country sustained damage from floods over the weekend.