Heavy rains kill five in Colombia, six missing

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A woman and her chidren sit on the remains of a house destroyed by heavy rains and flooding in Cucuta, Colombia, on November 18, 2020
A woman and her chidren sit on the remains of a house destroyed by heavy rains and flooding in Cucuta, Colombia, on November 18, 2020

Floods caused by a particularly intense rainy season have killed at least five people and left six others missing in northwestern Colombia, authorities said Wednesday.

A ravine near the city of Cucuta had overflowed and caused flooding "that devastated everything in its path," the South American country's disaster risk agency said.

More than 200 nearby homes, mostly in poor neighborhoods, were damaged.

The flooding brings the death toll from more than two months of torrential rains ravaging Colombia to 27, with thousands of people flooded out of their homes.

The government said 26 of Colombia's 32 departments have been affected by the rains, responsible for 154 separate flooding events, 143 landslides and 56 tornados.

Authorities link the catastrophic rains to the climate phenomenon known as "La Nina," which is characterized by a cooling of waters in the central Pacific Ocean.

Scientists say climate warming generally is causing a rise in ocean surface temperature, leading to hurricanes and violent storms, as well as rising sea levels endangering coastal communities.

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