Residents stand in front of destroyed houses in the Las Margaritas community after a mudslide in Salgar Municipality of northwest Colombia's Antioquia Department May 19, 2015. The United Nations Colombia office on Tuesday expressed its solidarity with victims of a massive landslide happening in northwest Colombia where so far 63 bodies have been found and 150 people are still missing. (Xinhua/Jhon Paz)
BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) -- The rescue operations in the central municipality of Salgar are being wrapped up Wednesday following a deadly landslide in northwest Colombia that has killed 83 people so far.
Carlos Ivan Marquez, chief of Colombia's disaster response service, said Wednesday the first phase of search and rescue operations in Salgar were "coming to an end due to the immediate response of all relief agencies."
President Juan Manuel Santos visited the disaster-stricken area on Tuesday and vowed support for the families affected by the disaster.
"The National Unit for Disaster Management (UNGRD) is in charge of the situation. The people affected will receive all our support," the president tweeted.
The government had earlier sent a mission led by UNGRD director Marquez to Salgar to coordinate the search and rescue operation there.
The landslide took place in the early hours Monday after heavy rains caused a nearby river to burst its banks, killing 83 people and injuring 37 others.
Officials said that 146 households would need to be relocated soon as their homes had been completely destroyed in the landslide.
According to the Ministry of Housing, 232 families are affected, with some 783 people in total.
The debris of destroyed houses remain in the community Las Margaritas after a mudslide in Salgar Municipality, department of Antioquia, northwest Colombia, on May 19, 2015. The United Nations' Colombia Office on Tuesday expressed its solidarity with victims of a massive landslide happening in northwest Colombia where so far 63 bodies have been found and 150 people are still missing. (Xinhua/Jhon Paz)
The United Nations' Colombia office on Tuesday expressed its solidarity with the victims, saying "the United Nations are on hand to give all the help that the Colombian authorities deem necessary to respond to this tragedy that has saddened the whole country today."
China sent condolences to the South American country and offered to provide necessary aid.
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday sent a message of condolence to President Santos over the massive disaster, which has caused a huge loss of life and grave property damage.
Xi mourned the dead and extended his deep condolences to the bereaved families and other people affected by the disaster.
He said he believed that under the leadership of Santos and the Colombian government, the Colombian people will overcome the disaster and rebuild their homes.
On the same day, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also extended his condolences to Santos and the bereaved families, adding that the Chinese government stands ready to provide necessary aid.
Due to its tropical climate and geographical features, Colombia is vulnerable to landslides, which have claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands of people homeless every year.
According to the studies of local environmental organizations, 60 percent of the inhabitants in the department of Antioquia are at risk of similar tragedies due to its mountainous terrain.