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Death toll in Oso mudslide rises to 34

Death toll in Oso mudslide rises to 34

MUDSLIDE:Rescue workers have been working tirelessly to recover the bodies of those believed to be trapped under the rubble. Photo: Associated Press

(Reuters) – The death toll in a mudslide that devastated a rural Washington state community last month rose to 34 on Tuesday as one more body was extricated from the rubble, the Snohomish County medical examiner said.

A rain-soaked hillside collapsed without warning above the north fork of the Stillaguamish River on March 22, unleashing a torrent of mud that engulfed some three dozen homes on the outskirts of the tiny community of Oso.

Of the 34 people confirmed dead, 30 have been identified, the Snohomish County medical examiner’s office said in a statement. The office did not give details on the latest body to be found.

Recovery crews were still searching for another 12 people unaccounted for as of Monday, but that figure could fluctuate as it has since the day of the disaster. The missing include three children – a 2-year-old girl and two boys, ages 4 and 14. At least half of the missing lived on Steelhead Drive, which the mudslide hit, according to the county.

PHOTOS: Oso mudslide

Recovery efforts have been hampered by rain, which has created treacherous conditions and raised the risk of further slides and flash floods.

No one has been pulled alive from the rubble since the landslide, when at least eight people were injured but survived. Rescue teams have since found no signs of life.

OBAMA TO VISIT MUDSLIDE SITE

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will visit the Washington state town struck by a deadly mudslide to meet families affected by the disaster and view the devastation, the White House said on Tuesday.

Obama will stop in Oso, Washington, on April 22, before starting out on a week-long trip to Asia.

Obama will “view the devastation from the recent mudslide and meet with the families affected by this disaster, as well as first responders and recovery workers,” the White House said.

The death toll from the mudslide has risen to 34 with another dozen people still unaccounted for, officials said.

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