BOGOTA, May 16 (Xinhua) -- The government of the Colombian department of Antioquia and the Red Cross issued an alert on Wednesday to four towns' residents to evacuate immediately given the flooding of the Cauca River.
"Please leave the river and its surroundings immediately. In the next few minutes, the water level of the Cauca River (will rise)... Head immediately to meeting points," read the statement posted on social media.
Personnel from the army and national policy were helping to evacuate residences close to the river, after an emergency was declared in the machinery room of the Hidroituango hydroelectric plant.
"There is an evacuation order in these communities. The 'downstream' protocol was activated after a problem presented itself in the machinery room," Carlos Ivan Marquez, director of national disaster risk management, told the press.
On Saturday, authorities evacuated over 200 families as the river burst its banks after a tunnel at Hidroituango unblocked itself because a landslide had clogged it.
The flooding has already destroyed 63 houses, a clinic, an education center and a footbridge.
According to Colombia's minister of mines, German Arce, the state of emergency for the area will remain in place until the situation at the Hidroituango site is stabilized.