At least 13 people onboard a bus were killed after a landslide pushed the bus into a ravine Sunday in south west Colombia, the disaster relief agency said.  

The head of the agency said the landslide pushed 5000 cubic meters of mud and rocks down the highway where the accident occurred. The highway winds between the cities of Pasto and Tumaco in Narino province, along the border with Ecuador. Search and rescue was underway for survivors. The deceased included a newborn baby, Reuters reported.

More than 1,100 police personnel and soldiers were deployed for rescue operations in 17 affected neighborhoods. As rescuers assessed the damage, many residents continued search for their family and friends.  

President Juan Manuel Santos declared a state of emergency in the region. He said prior warning was issued before the mudslide surged through the town, aiding many to evacuate. However many neighborhoods and two bridges were destroyed.

Mountainous areas of Colombia often succumb to treacherous landslides as the region often grapples with heavy rains coupled with poor infrastructure. In November, the La Paila River burst its banks and swept mud, boulders and branches through the town of Corinto in Colombia’s south-west Cauca province. Three died and 32 injured in the incident that affected more than 200 families in the region. Thousands were evacuated. Local residents told the local media that the flash flood warning in the area came too late, Reuters reported.

In March, a deadly mudslide swept through the south-western town of Mocoa after a night of heavy rain, killing over 200 people. Hundred were injured and many houses were destroyed as heavy rains caused the rivers in the region to overflow, propelling terrified residents to evacuate.

President Juan Manuel Santos blamed climate change for the avalanche  that swept through the town of Mocoa. He said the town's rainfall accumulation was amplified in March, receiving an entire month’s rainfall in one night. Santos invested 40,000m pesos ($13.9m; £11.1m) toward "addressing humanitarian priorities" in the disaster's aftermath, BBC reported

colombia mudslide A general view of Salgar, Colombia, after a mudslide hit the area, May 18, 2015. Dozens were reportedly killed in the incident. Photo: Reuters

Similarly in 2015, 58 people were killed in a mudslide when heavy rains lashed the town of Salgar in Colombia.  Forty thousand people lived in the town at that time. Nearly 25,000 people were killed in 1985 when Nevado Del Ruiz volcano erupted and buried the town of Armero.

Although the poor infrastructure and heavy rains lead to catastrophes in the region, rendering it susceptible to landslides, the magnitude of the March disaster was disturbing compared to recent tragedies. The crisis will be remembered as one of the worst disasters in history of Colombia. 

The United States is also in throes of mudslides brought by heavy rains. The California mudslides in early January claimed the lives of dozens of people and injured many in Montecito.