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Seventy killed in Venezuela, Colombia by rain
Published in Saudi Press Agency on 10 - 02 - 2005

Heavy rains in Venezuela and neighbouring Colombia have claimed at least 70 lives and forced tens of thousands from their homes, officials said Monday.
The rains, affecting the Andes region since February 8 and destroying roads and bridges, also left about 200 people missing in Venezuela and Colombia, officials said.
The heavy rain affecting the west and south-west of Venezuela prompted authorities to declare an emergency in seven states. The rain has tapered off in Venezuela but continued in some parts of Colombia.
The death toll from the rain rose to 38 in Venezuela and to 32 in Colombia by Monday. Tens of thousands have left homeless after flooding destroyed their homes.
About 150 people were reported missing in Venezuela, after a river flooded its banks in Santa Cruz de Mora in Merida state and destroyed 50 per cent of the town. Meanwhile, in northeastern Colombia, in Santander province, about 50 people were missing and 25,000 had been forced out of their homes.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez personally directed relief and rescue operations in the affected regions of Venezuela. On Saturday Chavez announced a new prevention programme and alloted 520 million dollars "to build new villages, new cities", that would not suffer overcrowding and poor construction that makes them vulnerable to landslides.
Officials said oil production and its transport in Venezuela - the world's fifth-largest petroleum exporting country - was not affected.


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