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Toll from heavy rains in Colombia climbs to 136

BOGOTA -- Furious storms that have been lashing Colombia all this year have killed another six people, pushing the overall death toll to 136, the Red Cross told AFP Wednesday.

The new deaths occurred Tuesday. A mudslide in a slum on the outskirts of Bogota claimed four of the lives, the national director of the Red Cross, Carlos Marquez, said.

The organization estimated that 1.2 million people in Colombia had been affected by the record rains, with 1,700 homes destroyed and nearly 3,000 damaged. Secondary roads in most of the country have also been hit.

The storms were being blamed on atmospheric disturbances from La Nina, a phenomenon in which cooler-than-normal water circulates in the Pacific Ocean around the equator.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday made an appeal for international help to cope with the situation.

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