8 Dec 2010

Colombian leader urges evacuation of landslide area

4:38 pm on 8 December 2010

Colombia's president has urged the evacuation of a hillside neighbourhood near Medellin after a landslide buried about 50 houses.

More than 30 bodies have been recovered since the landslide in Bello on Sunday, about a third of them children.

At least 80 people are still missing, but rescue efforts have been hampered by continued heavy rains, the BBC reports.

President Juan Manuel Santossaid the collapse of the hillside was a "tragedy foretold" that could be repeated.

Mr Santos promised his government would build 1000 new homes in Bello for people whose houses were destroyed or had to be evacuated, and would help pay their rent until they could be re-housed.

Colombia and neighbouring Venezuela are suffering their worst rainy season in decades.