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Cesar Blamed for Avalanche that Kills 2; 8 Children Missing

July 27, 1996

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ Rain from a Caribbean tropical storm set off an avalanche Saturday that killed two people and buried eight children as they slept in their home, authorities said.

The storm, named Cesar, later was upgraded to a hurricane as it bore down on Nicaragua with 80-mph winds, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The avalanche occurred Saturday morning in Pueblo Bello, about 440 miles north of the capital, Bogota, near the city of Valledupar.

Falling rocks killed a teen-age boy and swept a farmer to his death, Valledupar Mayor Elias Ochoa told RCN radio.

The avalanche also covered a shack where eight children and their parents were sleeping. Only the parents escaped, Ochoa said. The children are listed as missing.

Several roads were blocked and yucca, cotton, and banana crops damaged by the rains, Ochoa said.

The storm was just south of the Colombian island of San Andres at 5 p.m., the hurricane center said.

Moving west at 16 mph, the hurricane was expected to hit land on Sunday morning. The hurricane center issued hurricane warnings for the islands of San Andres and Providencia, for the entire east coast of Nicaragua and for Honduras east of Limon.

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