Mar 17 - Heavy rains trigger flooding and mudslides in western Colombia, affecting thousands of residents and cutting off entire communities. Travis Brecher reports.
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Several municipalities here in Colombia have been placed under a state of emergency after heavy rains caused four rivers to overflow their banks.
Thousands of residents have been affected along the country's Pacific coast, with many in dire need of basic supplies.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) OSMAN ROJAS, LOCAL RESIDENT, SAYING:
"The situation is devastating. Right now, we need water to be brought in on trucks because we don't have drinking water. There's a total shortage of food and business and we need all the basic things that are required in this type of situation."
The severe weather system has cut off entire communities, as landslides blocked off roads and bridges.
One resident, who lost everything in the storm, said the flash floods took the residents by surprise.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MARTIN LOAIZA, HOMELESS FROM FLOOD, SAYING:
"This started at eight in the morning and, by nine, we already had water up to our necks. There was no time to take anything out. We got nothing out. The mattresses are gone. There was no time for anything."
Dozens of houses have already been so badly damaged that they need to be demolished.
This is the region's first major storm in this year's rainy season.
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