Retams, Peru—Rescuers digging through a landslide in northern Peru said Wednesday they had recovered three dead bodies, including a one-month-old baby.
A landslide Tuesday in the town of Retamas, around 500 kilometers (310 miles) north of Lima, buried several homes and trapped at least eight people, five of whom are still missing, authorities said.
“We were able to recover the body of a third person, a 62-year-old man,” Lieutenant Carlos Alberto Valderrama, the village’s chief of police, told AFP.
Hours earlier emergency crews recovered the bodies of the baby girl and an adult male who was likely trying to protect the infant when the landslide buried them both, a police spokesman said.
All three victims were found under the rubble of a market.
Defense Minister Jose Gavidia said the eight missing include three children.
On Tuesday, authorities had said there were 15 people missing from the mining village of around 5,000.
Gavidia also corrected a claim from Tuesday by La Libertad governor Manuel Llempen, who said at least 60 homes were buried, lowering that figure to “about seven.”
“I managed to get out in time (but) my house was buried. The landslide has left us with nothing,” said Ledy Leiva, who escaped with five family members.
Rescue efforts went on all night into Wednesday with only a couple hours’ break. But the work was suspended late Wednesday due to heavy rain in the area.
Peruvian President Pedro Castillo arrived at the village early Wednesday to supervise rescue efforts.
“In Peru we lack a risk map, there are people who dare to put a roof over a river or drill a hole in a hill to make homes,” said Castillo, referring to poor people with no other option than to build makeshift homes in precarious places.
In 2009, at least 13 people were killed by another landslide in Retamas, which is considered a high-risk area.
Landslides are frequent in the wet summers of the Peruvian Andes.
Tuesday’s landslide is believed to have been caused by heavy recent rainfall.