At least 22 people have died, and 52 others are missing in mudslides in Venezuela’s north-central Aragua state, Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said Sunday.
“President Nicolás Maduro will decree this zone of tragedy and has also decreed three days of mourning for the losses of Venezuelans (…) that we have suffered in this area,” Rodríguez said in statements to the state television channel Venezolana de Televisión.
The situation was caused by the passage of a tropical wave and heavy rains that caused several rivers to overflow their banks near the town of Las Tejerías, about 60 kilometers from Caracas.
Rodriguez, who visited the affected area Sunday accompanied by other ministers, said Bolivarian forces are searching for the missing.
She also said that emergency shelters had been set up for the affected families and that attention would be paid to commercial areas that had suffered heavy losses.
Remigio Ceballos, minister of Internal Affairs, Justice and Peace, reported that more than 1,000 officials from security and risk management agencies are dealing with the emergency.
President Maduro announced on his Twitter account that he had ordered the deployment of the Social Cabinet and government security agencies in light of the “difficult and painful situation caused by the heavy rains in Las Tejerías.”