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At least 18 missing after Peru mudslide

  • Story Highlights
  • Up to 90 people could have been buried or washed away, news agency says
  • Twelve villagers rescued from mudslide in northwestern Peru mountains
  • Rain hasn't stopped since October, civil defense official says
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LIMA, Peru (CNN) -- Twelve villagers have been rescued from a mudslide in the mountains of northwestern Peru, but at least another 18 remained missing, Peru's state-run news agency reported Friday.

Up to 90 people could have been buried or washed away by the rain-induced landslide, the official Andina news agency said, citing regional president Jose Murgia Zanier.

The mudslide destroyed or severely damaged up to 40 houses in the Chamanacucho village in Sanchez Carrion province, said Gen. Luis Palomino, head of the National Civil Defense Institute.

The mudslide comes at the end of the rainy season, when the terrain is saturated, civil defense spokesman Walter Tapia said.

"From October to now, it hasn't stopped," he said of the rain.

Carlos Loyola, mayor of the province, said Thursday the mudslide was 1.5 kilometers (nearly a mile) long and covered 200 hectares (about 500 acres) of farmland.

"It's difficult to approach because the mud makes it difficult to walk," he said.

Images Friday on government-owned Peru TV showed hillside houses and roads washed away by cascades of mud and rain water. Impassable roads made it difficult for rescue crews and supplies to reach trapped villagers.

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