Authorities in the northern Colombian department of Santander ordered the evacuation of 15,000 residents Thursday after mudslides killed at least three. The decision was made amid fears that a double mudslide that hit the village of California in the afternoon could cause more destruction downstream.
The 15,000 people who were ordered to evacuate live south of California in the Sutara valley all the way to the northeastern slums of the department capital Bucaramanga. According to locals, it has been raining in the region around Bucaramanga for three consecutive days. Santander was one of the worst-hit department in last year's rainy season when large parts of the department's infrastructure were destroyed. There was series of earthquakes on Wednesday and Thursday (March 2 and 3) in north Colombia. The strongest earthquake measured 5.5 on the Richter scale and injured eight construction workers in the Caribbean town of Necocli who were on a metal structure that collapsed because of the earthquake. A bridge collapsed on Wednesday, March 2, 2011. About ten people are missing. According to authorities, the bridge collapsed due to the high water levels and strong currents of the Sogamoso river.
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