Washington Mudslide Update: More Rescuers Sift Through Debris and Mud, Death Toll Expected to Rise

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By Alyssa Ashley Lucas | March 29, 2014 2:56 PM EST

More rescuers continue to sift through the debris and mud caused by the mudslide that has killed at least 17 people in the state of Washington in the U.S. With a week gone by since the March 22 catastrophe, the death toll is expected to rise, according to officials.

REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/Pool
Workers search for victims in a massive mudslide in Oso, Washington March 28, 2014. Rescue officials said the death toll from a catastrophic mudslide in Washington state is soon expected to climb far higher, as some residents voiced anger that they were prevented from helping in the initial disaster response six days ago.

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A week after the mudslide in Oso, Washington, video clips show various scenes of the rubble that has once stood as a community, still packed with rescuers, tractor and fire engines that try to sift through the debris and mud. Reports say that the weather is affecting the search operation. Rain and strong winds make it hard for the rescuers to work in the square-mile (2.6 sq km) heap of mud-caked debris and muck.

It was recorded on Tuesday, March 25 that the number of persons confirmed dead is a depressing number of 14. On Friday, March 28, however, officials told the media that the death toll has gone up to 17, and it is still expected to jump considerably high in the coming days.

The missing persons have dropped to 90, but the rescuers seemed to be already losing hope due to the poor weather that is making it even more difficult for the 200 rescue teams going through the rubble of the Oso mudslide where a 600-foot hill collapsed and washed out 49 homes.

Authorities are also in fear that not all the missing 90 people can be found. A video footage of the search operation shows rescuers using shovels, using their bare hands to clear the debris and big tires skidding on mud. Search teams are going into great lengths and are doing their best to locate more people.

County officials were expected to revise the casualty tolls as soon as new development on the devastation comes in. But according to one Reuters report, even though the officials have previously said that 9 more individuals have been located in the rubble, they would not revise the tally until the bodies haven't gone through the process of examination and identification.

As of Friday, March 28, 9 more individuals were still excluded in the casualty tally of the Oso mudslide.

READ: Washington Mudslide Update: Family Dog Survived and Gets Rescued

WATCH: Number of Missing in Mudslide Drops to 90

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(Photo: REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson/Pool / )
Workers search for victims in a massive mudslide in Oso, Washington March 28, 2014. Rescue officials said the death toll from a catastrophic mudslide in Washington state is soon expected to climb far higher, as some residents voiced anger that they were prevented from helping in the initial disaster response six days ago.
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