BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A mudslide destroyed a dance club and killed seven people in northern Colombia early Monday as the country reels from heavy rains.
The disaster management agency for Antioquia state said that the landslide occurred around 1 a.m. while about 20 people were drinking and dancing in the small club, located near the town of Valdivia.
It said seven bodies had been recovered and nine injured people were taken for treatment. Rescue workers were searching for any missing people.
The governor of Antioquia urged locals to stay away from disaster site in order to avoid a mass gathering that could unleash coronavirus infections.
Heavy rains have killed at least 33 people in Colombia this month, according to the country's National Risk Management Agency. Officials said at least 61,000 people have been forced to abandon their homes this month due to the relentless rains.
The mountainous state of Antioquia has been particularly hard hit by mudslides, which have killed at least 12 people so far, including those reported on Monday, and blocked a highway that connects its capital of Medellin to the Caribbean coast. The Colombian island of Providencia east of Nicaragua last week lost 80% of its homes when Hurricane Iota hit.
Clubs and bars were ordered to close across Colombia on Nov. 17, for several weeks, in a bid to slow coronavirus infections. But the measure has not been fully enforced, particularly in rural areas like Valdivia, where policing is scarce.
Colombia has registered more than 1.2 million infections of the new coronavirus and 35,000 deaths. The South American nation lifted most restrictions on economic activity in Septermber and is now registering about 8,000 new cases each day.