The number of deaths after the mudslide on March 22 in Washington already stands at 29, as forensic experts have indicated. The new figure comes two days after the number of missing people after the catastrophe dropped from 90 to 22. President Barack Obama has elevated the status of the tragedy to a «major catastrophe». In this way, and following the request from the Governor of the State, Jay Inslee, the President opens the way for those affected to begin to apply for federal financial aid.
So far, 26 corpses have been identified in the days following the mudslide, now considered the worst natural disaster Washington has experienced in the last century and as one of the worst landslides in American history. As to the missing, authorities believe that there are still 18 people who have yet to be located.
Additionally, authorities, rescue teams, family and neighbors are beginning to lose hope of finding anyone else alive, and many fear that the final number of dead will include people who are still missing and that many of the corpses will never be recovered.
The mudslide that crushed homes in this small rural area could not have arrived at worst, since it took place on a Saturday, when most of the residents were in their homes and not at work or in school, as would have happened on a weekday.