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Death toll rises to 25, many missing in Venezuela landslide

CARACAS, Venezuela – Rescue workers used drones and trained dogs to search for survivors Monday after a massive landslide in the Venezuelan city of Las Tejerias, when the death toll rose to 25 and dozens more were reported missing.

The landslide occurred Saturday night after heavy rains caused by Hurricane Julia, destroying more than 300 homes and affecting businesses in the city of 50,000 people, located along Venezuela’s main industrial corridor.

Rescuers searched for survivors and workers used heavy machinery to clear debris from a hilly neighborhood where roads were covered in mud. According to authorities, 52 people are missing.

On Monday, Vice President Delcy Rodríguez toured the area and said three more bodies had been found, bringing the death toll to at least 25 people. She said workers still hoped to find people alive under the rubble.

Residents said they had only minutes to leave their homes when the avalanche of mud, rocks and logs rolled off a mountain and poured into neighborhoods also inundated by five streams. Several children have been reported missing.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on Sunday declared three days of mourning for the victims and sent rescue workers to Las Tejerias, which lies along a highway connecting Caracas to the industrial city of Valencia. Maduro said 11 states in the country were damaged by flooding this weekend.

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