The number of people killed by landslides in Venezuela has risen to at least 36 people after the country was hit by flooding and days of torrential rain.

Search and rescue operations have taken place in the town of Las Tejerias, Aragua state, for the more than 50 people reported missing – taken away from their homes.

On Sunday it was reported that 22 people had died but it is now confirmed that this number has increased.

Jennifer Galindez’s husband is among the missing. The flood also killed her one-year-old granddaughter, who was sitting on a sofa in the house when the devastating floods hit.

“I couldn’t sleep,” she said. “I can’t close my eyes because that’s what I see. I see my granddaughter, where I put her. I left her there and couldn’t get her out.

“My husband was by the window. I couldn’t help him either and the water washed him away.”

Homes and businesses in the city – left without electricity or drinking water – are completely or partially filled with mud and other debris.

Residents remove mud from inside a house that was hit by devastating flooding following heavy rains, in Las Tejerias, Aragua state, Venezuela

Jose Medina recalled how water flowing through his house had reached waist-level, trapping his family, so he turned his fridge on its side and used it as a boat for his granddaughter, while he and his wife clung to it.

He described their survival as a “miracle”.

The streets of Las Tejerias, a town of about 73,000, are filled with mud, rocks and tangled tree branches.

One of the swollen rivers, the El Pato, washed away several homes and businesses.

A damaged vehicle in Las Tejerias, which was hit by devastating floods following heavy rains, Aragua State, Venezuela

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said a month of rain fell in just eight hours and pumps used to supply the community’s drinking water system were washed away by floodwaters.

“We lost boys, girls,” he said from a flooded street.

“What happened in the town of Tejerias is a tragedy.”

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