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Catastrophic Flooding Leaves More Than 250 People Dead In Colombia

Rescue efforts are underway to find the hundreds of people reported missing following flooding in the city of Mocoa.

Last updated on April 2, 2017, at 1:00 p.m. ET

Posted on April 2, 2017, at 4:26 a.m. ET

More than 250 people have died and hundreds more are missing after three rivers flooded the city of Mocoa in Colombia.

Handout / Reuters

Heavy rains caused the rivers to overflow at around midnight on Friday, destroying homes and uprooting trees while residents were asleep in their beds.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

On Sunday, the Colombian military said 254 people had been killed, over 400 were injured, and an additional 100 people were still missing.

Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty Images

The death toll is expected to grow as more bodies are pulled from the rubble.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency and told reporters at the scene, "The first thing I want to say is that my heart, our hearts, the hearts of all Colombians are with the victims of this tragedy."

Handout / Reuters

Santos visiting a flooded area.

Santos traveled to the devastated city and declared it a disaster zone on Saturday.

Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty Images

Santos blamed the tragedy on climate change and said the accumulated rainfall in one night was almost half the amount Mocoa normally receives in the entire month of March, the Associated Press reported.

Luis Robayo / AFP / Getty Images

Eduardo Vargas, 29, was asleep with his wife and 7-month-old baby when his neighbors woke him up.

Handout / Reuters

"There was no time for anything. Thank God we have our lives," Vargas told AP.

The family and their neighbors fled up a mountain until morning when they were rescued by the military. When they returned to the city, all that remained of their home was rubble.

The tragedy is one of the worst natural disasters in Colombia's recent history.

Jaime Saldarriaga / Reuters

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.