US mudslide response teams face morbid challenge

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At least 21 people have been confirmed as dead following last week’s mudslide in Washington state.

In total, 30 people remain missing, with the search for victims complicated by challenging conditions.

Heavy showers and flooding have left large swathes of debris across the affected area.

Lieutenant Richard Burke from the Bellevue (Washington) Fire Department said: “It’s slow, the weather had been tough. We had the snow level down last night, fortunately. It’s warmed up a little bit. But the rain, unfortunately, continues.”

The massive torrent of mud released by the slide roared over both stream banks and State Highway 530, engulfing dozens of homes on the outskirts of the rural town of Oso in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

No one has been pulled alive from the rubble since the day the landslide hit, when at least eight people were injured but survived.

Rescue teams have found no signs of life since.

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