Deadly highway collapse after heavy rain hits La Paz, Bolivia

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A part of a highway northwest of capital La Paz, Bolivia collapsed on February 2, 2019, killing at least 11 people and injuring more than 20. The incident happened around 07:50 local time near a spot known as El Choro in Puente Armas after several days of heavy rain. 

According to a statement released by Bolivia’s Defence Ministry, the event occurred Saturday morning when a large block of earth collapsed under the highway affecting several vehicles. 

Public Works chief Oscar Coca said the bodies were found in two cars that were swept some 200 m (650 feet) down a canyon.

Heavy rains had been falling for two days and the cars were in a line of vehicles making their way along a muddy patch of road when the mountainside gave way, the AP reports.

The ministry said it suspects there may be other bodies and vehicles buried under tons of debris, adding that it will take a few more days to finish the search and rescue operations. 

Local media reported the slide swept away a bus, six vehicles and one house with the people still inside. Several dozen homes were evacuated.

New landslides have been reported in the region but there are no reports of casualties at this time.

Defence Minister Zavaleta said the rains over the past couple of days affected several municipalities, mainly in the departments of La Paz and the northern region of Beni such as Guanay, Alto Beni, Palos Blancos Coroico, Reyes, San Borja and parts of Trinidad and Riberalta.

The rains are expected to continue through the rest of the month.

Featured image credit: Bolivian Police

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