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Death Toll Mounts After Colombia Earthquake

HeadlineJan 27, 1999

Officials now say the confirmed death toll from Monday’s earthquake in Colombia has reached 700 but could climb to as many as 2,000, as many bodies remain buried under rubble. Officials are desperate for refrigerated trucks and generators for hospitals to keep the bodies from decomposing. The Red Cross is asking for tents and tarps to shelter the homeless, estimated now in the hundreds of thousands. The magnitude-6.0 quake devastated cities and village across western Colombia, leveling buildings and homes. In the meantime, aid from the U.S. is poised to head south from Queens, New York, to Little Havana in Miami. Cardboard boxes are being left on sidewalks and in storefronts to collect donations. A team from the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Urban Search and Rescue Task Force will help sift through the destruction. President Clinton telephoned Colombia’s president Tuesday to express his sympathy and condolences.

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