Source Pravda.Ru

700 reported missing in Bolivia landslides

Over 400 homes buried in the Andean region of the South American country. Gold-mining operations may be responsible for the disaster.

A major disaster happened Monday in northwestern Bolivia. A mass of earth and rock broke away from the Pucaloma Mountain and submerged a whole town in the landslide. The area is located 250 kilometers north of the capital La Paz, in a tropical area where landslides are common.

Local reports say that over 700 people are missing and more than 400 homes have been destroyed after the catastrophe. However mining official Jose Plata told local radio it was hard to estimate the number of casualties as the landslide had submerged everything. "We have suffered a tragedy this morning, the losses are impossible to calculate," he said.

Regional officials said the disaster may have been caused by gold-mining operations that weakened a nearby mountain. Mining officials also said that the landslide had buried much of the local miners' equipment.

Several of the injured have been taken to hospital in the nearby town of Tipuani. Authorities in La Paz, said they were trying to get rescue workers to the scene of the landslide but warned the process could take several hours, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Hernan Etchaleco PRAVDA.Ru Argentina

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