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Colombia suffers amid rising floods

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 01:29

Apr 26 - Floodwaters continue to rise in Colombia in what President Juan Manuel Santos describes as the country's worst ever tragedy. Simon Hanna reports.

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A spate of heavy rain plunges some areas of Colombia deeper into crisis. Floodwaters have plagued these areas for weeks, but recent downpours forced rivers to overflow their banks. Streets and homes have been submerged -- here the roof of a house is just visible above the water's surface. Torrential rains have put most of the country on high alert. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos visited devastated areas and spoke of the scale of the problem. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT JUAN MANUEL SANTOS: "Without a doubt, this is the worst tragedy in our history. But the country continues to function, more than five million vehicles were in the streets this holy week." But some communities are functioning better than others. These residents have had to flee their homes and are living in tents -- for some the situation has become intolerable. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FLOOD VICTIM JARIO ESPINEL: "I cannot continue working here as I am. I cannot because I've had enough of sleeping in a tent. I have small children. And whether this dries or not it will begin to smell bad. The smell is awful - it's contaminated water." Thirteen of Colombia's 32 departments are reporting emergencies from the sustained rainfall. Weather agencies say the rain could continue into June, although it is expected to be lighter than April's downpour. Simon Hanna, Reuters.

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Colombia suffers amid rising floods

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 - 01:29