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Saturday, December 03, 2022

Relatives buried avalanche victims in Venezuela

LAS TEJERÍAS, Venezuela ( Associated Press) — A day after burying his mother Cenobia, Rafael Negrin carried the coffin of his aunt Elpidia Rodriguez to the cemetery on Wednesday, two of the 43 people killed when they were struck by floods and avalanches. were swept away. The center of Venezuela.

Cenobia and Elpidia were the sisters of Venzelada, who was a survivor, and Francisca, who was among dozens still missing in the deadly landslide.

“It is very painful to lose three family members, including my mother, to lose many acquaintances,” Negrin, 37, who is also upset to see the place where he grew up, told the Associated Press.

“The rest of us were saved, my daughter survived there too,” said Negrin, moments after his aunt Elpidia was buried in the cemetery of Las Tejerias de Santos Michelena, an agricultural in Aragua state. Industrial municipality, about 87 kms. According to official figures, in the south-west of Caracas in the east, where 56 people are still missing.

The Civil Defense, for its part, has a record of 400 “completely destroyed” homes and about 800 with moderate to severe damage.

Elpidia’s body was the second of three missing sisters found by rescue teams, who have been searching for victims since Sunday with the help of trained dogs and drones, which traversed river banks and ravines several kilometers down the mountains. have been.

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Officials and residents fear the death toll will continue to rise as crews of workers and heavy machinery clear the debris.

Rafael’s mother, 65-year-old Cenobia Rodriguez Agrizones, was buried on Tuesday and although the injured son is deeply saddened, he was relieved that his body had been recovered. Others don’t have that consolation at the moment.

“My mother is there, we know she is there,” he said. If she is not found and is not buried, her condition will be similar to that of her cousins, who are still looking for their mother Francesca, he said.

Residents of Las Tejarias had only seconds to be safe on Saturday afternoon, when large amounts of water, mud, debris, stones and trees fell from the slopes of the mountain, which is next to a municipality of 54,000 residents.

Despite the suffering, “we must recharge our strength for our nephews, for our children,” who survived the tragedy, insisted Negrin.

Disruption in distribution systems makes life difficult in a disaster area. Several businesses were destroyed and many others were temporarily disabled when a portion of the mountain collapsed due to rain.

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According to official reports, electricity and mobile telephony services have been almost completely restored in Las Tejarias, while fixed telephony and water services have been disrupted, affecting about 10,000 families.

The avalanche completely destroyed telephone wiring, pipes and water pumping equipment in several devastated areas.

Additionally, according to preliminary data, there were about two dozen affected companies, including the Chinese-built Cherry Vehicle Assembly Plant, where most of the debris carried by the water ended up; As well as one high school and two primary schools.

The El Baisbol and La Agotada neighborhoods—located to the north of the municipality and where the Los Patos ravine overflows—are the areas where the most reported disappearances, many of them children.

President Nicolás Maduro, who accompanied his wife Cilia Flores in one of the most flooded streets on Monday, has pledged to support the residents of Las Tejarias. He warned that his administration would tackle the rebuilding of homes and businesses in areas where studies determine they are safe. He also promised accommodation in other areas for those who prefer to leave the place.

In the state of Aragua, several shelters and collection centers are already active near Las Tejarias, while permanent housing has been assigned.

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