At least 22 dead, more than 50 missing in Venezuela landslide: Official

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A landslide in central Venezuela left at least 22 people dead and more than 50 missing after heavy rains caused a river to overflow, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Sunday.

“We are seeing very significant damage here, human losses: so far, we have already found 22 dead, there are more than 52 people missing. We are working to find these people,” Rodriguez told local media at the scene.

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AFP journalists saw houses and businesses destroyed and felled trees in the streets, which were covered with mud and debris.

Around a thousand people had joined the rescue efforts, Interior and Justice Minister Remigio Ceballos Ichaso told AFP, as he also worked at the site.

“The village is lost. Las Tejerias is lost,” 55-year-old resident Carmen Melendez, who has lived her whole life in the town 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the capital Caracas, told AFP.

The landslide, caused by the biggest river flood in the area in 30 years, is the worst so far this year in Venezuela, which has seen historic rain levels in recent months.

In 1999, huge landslides killed some 10,000 people in the state of Vargas, north of Caracas.

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